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J VI im ummn a dbsiubu am mmn mam 






ol llie District Court of Iho Uuiled Slati 



Tnc autlvor of this treatise, having been taught from youth 
to work with Bees ever ai3mirmg their f,ii;at sagacity industry 
and perseveranei. an i ie= i ng to turn th r n 1 islry to ac- 
count as a matt^ir f pi ft lirected all hia efforts to acquire 
a correct knowle ]ge of their hibits, want and requirements 
necessary to cmtinuel pios^enty and profit 

He obsentl yeaiH ago that when the seMons were fa- 
vorable for pro luuiig abundance of honej hees invariably 
flourished and increased rapidly, yielding hr^e returns in the 
shape of surplus honey, bidding defiance to worms and all 
other enemies, being evidently prosperous and happy; but 
when scarcity prevailed, the very reverse of this condition of 
things was true ; adversity took the place of prosperity — some 
would starve, others would fall a prey to their enemies. The 
succession of honey iroducing flowers hiij been miteiially 
influenced by the cleinng up ud biinf,ing under cultivat on 
of our lands es'entiill^ ohan^mg the (.unlition of things 
afieeting thi. pioaperty of be s at certain seis ns of the 
year m alout the same ratio that it has cattle oi ithcv sto k 
which y,is permitted to run lu the wo ds as it was euUel 
(when their pasture grounds were fenced in then supplies 


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were cut oW); with this difference, that for all other stock 
provision has been made to suit the change of circumstances, 
but for beea no eare has been manifested, hence they have been 
steadily decreasing m numbus m the older stftled parts of 
our country, until the fact becomes ipparcnt, thit without a 
change of policy in thia duection thej will eventually become 
extinct; or at least prevtnt bee keeping from assuming any 
importance, bet-ause ot its uncertainty 

This state ot lads kd me to imjuire, whit could be done to 
render bee-keepng la reliable and certain lu iH results as 
other rural pursuits HiMng examined all the works on bee 
culture that I could procuie (some ot which weie very valu- 
able), all failed to point out a practical plan to feed bees, or 
supply them with a uniform succession of flowers, or pasturage, 
sufficient to keep them as prosperous as when wild flowers 
abounded. We are told, it is true, to feed them a little in the 
field io keep them from atai-ving through the winter or early 
spring; but they rather discountenance feeding for any other 
purpose or providing pasturage with a view to keep them con- 
stantly advancing from spring to fall, Being well assured that 
it would pay better to keep bees employed from early spring 
until fall, than to let them remain idle for want of something 
to do, I adopted the plan of either feeding, as directed in the 
chapter on feeding, or cultivated such crops as would furnish 
them with abundant supplies. This plan I have practiced for 
■ome time past both ia Pennsylvania and California, to which 
latter Stat«, in connection with J. 8. Harbison, of Sacramento, 
I made two large and successful shipments of bees. 

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The results of mj practice and the suctcaa tliat list invari 
ahly crowned inj effoits in the minagement ul btes has been 
favorably va 1 extensively Hoticrd by the f i<,as and has 
induced persons from -various parts nf thp United States to 
write Ittteii ot inquiry rtspetting my mode of minaging 
beea leading to siieh sitiafietory re''Hlta, these letters ha\e 
accumulated to such an extent, that it is impos'iblt' to answer 
eaohpasonally nnl eatiBfaotonlv, hence I concluded to ^ne to 
the public a synopsis of my experience, with such hiiita and 
EnggestJons as may possibly benefit some bee-keepers and ad- 
vance the genera! interest. 

It is with pleasure that I acknowledge my indebtedness to 
Mr. Quinby, for extracts from his valuable work entitled "The 
Mysteries of Bea-Keeping Explained," and also for other valu- 
able matter kindly furnished by him. Although we may differ 
upon some minor points in practice, there is but little differ- 
ence as regards the general and leading features of bee-keeping. 

I am also indebted to Bevan's work on bees for valuable ex- 

I would here tender my thanks to the Eev. J. Lewis Shuck, 
of Sacramento, California, for an article on beea and bee-keep- 
ing in China. 

In presenting this work to the public, 1 disclaim any pre- 
tensions to literary attainments; my on!y object has been to 
impart to others a knowledge of my experience. 

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D PHV3rOI.08Y 01? 1 

ThB omnooiy of tho e 
The imlj niiivsBily la 

RtsrluK brooi, 
Jloda of Ujlng a 



se Qusntlty of c^s laid by s i 





102 Pi-opar sise and klQa of hlToa, 


Langatrath'a ] 

hiva, lis Phdps'niovablfmmbl 



Best kinil of eajly paHtumge, - . 133 Mnatard ana mignODstt 
The next pMtutn^^^ - - - 134 Cophalanthus, or buttm 



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- - 18-2 EITscU of fwdloe, Terms Don-teaKng, : 

ming lao Cu1Ut»[8 fiiiLt Irces ia or nosi 

Otli^r sjiuptomB Imme^ati^lf pructxl- Places generally aelecled by £W(in 

The m^ui operavdi of Ewatjulugr > 103 atai-tiag at Due tioie, 


How tomiHsBbMa ptnllUbla without a rspid tacreiso ofc 


PotUng on honey boiBa, 



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KblplJlng liges tu CoLlfurul.i, - - 2Hj Other sbt^sif 

^nd shipmeDt — how proparefl, 
icuUailtlcs of bees In CaUfOrnbi, 



Modeof appljinRtl 









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Tub Bee is considered by naturalists as belonging 
to what are called perfect societies of insects, and in 
entomological arrangements is placed in the order 
of Hymenoptera, genua Apis. Every association or 
colony of bees comprises three descriptions of indi- 
viduals, and each description is distinguished by an 
appearance and cast of character peculiar to itself, — 
( Bevan.) 


The queen, as she is now generally called (the 
mother bee would be a much more appropriate name 
to designate the functions which properly belong to 
her in the economy of the hive), is without doubt 
tlie most important personage in the association, or 
colony ; not from any useful labor which she per- 
forms in building combs, storing honey, or anything 
of this kind, nor yet for enacting laws and dictating 

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12 Bees and jsKE-KEEWNrt. 

to the rest oi' the colony what they shall and what 
they shal! not do, with that pomp aud dignity sup- 
posed to be the prerogative of earthly potentates gen- 
erally; but for the humble position and for the sim- 
ple piii-pose of laying eggs from which the young are 
reared, and thus becomes the means of extending and 
perpetuating her species. 

In discussing this pai't of my subject, my expe- 
rience will necessarily lead me to difler, on some 
points, from writers whose, ipse dixit is generally re- 
ceived as orthodox. 


The' queen, or mother bee, is easily 
distinguished from all other bees in the 
colony, by a more measured, sedate 
movement; the greater length of her 
body, which tapers graduaUy to a point; 
the pTOportionate shortness of her 
TBS QusEK. wings, which reach but little beyond 
her middle, ending about the third ring of her ab- 
domen, but are very strong and sinewy ; her head is 
rounder, her trunk or thorax more slender and but 
little more than half the length of that of the com- 
mon worker bee ; her legs, though longer, have nei- 
ther brushes nor baskets for collecting pollen ; she 
differs in color from all other bees in the colony, as 
much as in shape — the upper part of her body is of a 
much brighter black, the under surface and the legs 
are of a dark orange or copper color, the hind legs 
being rather darker thau the rest 

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History and physiology. 13 

does the qukeji oovern the colony 1' 
My experience npou this point is, that she does 
not, or if she does exercise any controlling power, it 
is to a very limited extent indeed ; but on the con- 
trary, I firmly believe her to be a creature of the col- 
ony, or worker bees, and subject to their power and 
control, from the time the egg is deposited from 
which she is reared, up to the perfect queen, and 
from that time to the day of her death. It is gen- 
erally conceded that the worker bees possess the pow- 
er to rear a queen from any egg deposited im a worker 
oell, and it is generally supposed that the change is 
caused by the quantity and quality of food given them 
whilst in the larva state, producing a fully developed 
insect instead of one but partially developed, as in 
the case of the common workers, and in this opin- 
ion I fully concur. ''^Now if food can be varied to 
produce auch striking results as this, may it not -pro- 
duce very important results in another direction ? (as 
I will have occasion to refer to hereafter.) Thus wa 
lind the common bees can rear a queen at pleasure, 
when they have eggs. Now suppose the old queen 
is removed from a colony wlien in possession of eggs, 
what is the result? Do they scatter off, hither and 
thither, having lost their goveraor or sovereign ; or 
do they become lazy, indolent or reckless, not caring 
now to protect their stores, as would most unques- 
tionably be the case ^vere they dependent upon the 
queen to direct them in their duty, allotting to each 
their task ? Nay, every observing apiarian can tes- 
tify to the reverse of all this. 

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When the queen is removed tiiey very soon mies 
her, and immediately make a diligent seai'cii tor her 
in and about the hive, apparently manifesting a great 
anxiety for her safety. If she is not found in a short 
time, they settle down and go to work quietly, as if 
nothing unusual had happened. To replace their 
lost queen now seems to be their greatest concern. 
It would be very difficult for the most skillful and 
careful observer to detect any thing different in their 
movements from those in possession of a queen ; the 
only difference, perhaps, is, that if any comb is built 
it is pretty certain to be drone cells. Honey and 
pollen will be gathered and stored, and every thing 
carried on with the same order and precision that it 
could be if a queen was present Now if the queen 
mles a colony and directs its movement, laying out 
all the plana, &c. as most writers would have us be- 
lieve, where is the directing or governing power 
vested, in the absence of a queen ? Are the various 
manipulations of the hive carried on at random? I 
think not. Every bee, when it is born into the world, 
is most unquestionably endowed by nature with that 
instinct which prompts it to enter upon the discharge 
of its appropriate dutiea, and also with the knowledge 
and mechanical skill necessary to perform those du- 
ties; no apprenticeship under skilled architects is 
necessary to enable the young bee to build the raost 
beautiful comb, complete in all its relations, which 
has been a problem to the most profound philoso- 
phers and geometricians for centuries (the mode of 
testing the truth of this position wil! be given in 

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another place); hciieelthiiik facts willjustify me in 

First. That no sovereignty is exercised by the 
(;[ueen over the other bees in the colony. 

Second. That the entire economy of the colony is 
directed and executed by the worker bees, inelading, 
to a very eonsiderabie extent, the actions of the 

Third. The only necessity for the presence of tlie 
queen is to supply the colony with eggs. 

Fourth. That the time of laying eggs, and the 
number required at any given period, is eontroiled 
by the workers, and not by the queen. 

Fifth. That no eggs are deposited in the queen 
cells by queens. 

Sixth. That no homage or filial affection is ren- 
dered or manifested for the queen by the workers, 
other than from the instinct of self-preservation. 

Wo doubt I will be pronounced heterodox by many, 
and especially by cotemporary authoi-a and their ad- 
herents, who have made the sovereignty of tiie 
queen and the homage and filial aftection rendered 
her by her loving subjects, a theme over which they 
have become very eloquent, and even romantic. 
This course on the part of authors tends, in my opin- 
ion, to continue and perpetuate in a modified form 
that mystery which has for ages surrounded and ob- 
scured bees and bee-keeping, and no doubt in many 

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cases prevents pei-soiis from engaging in apiarian 
pursuits (which are both pleasing and profitable), 
from a dread of being unable to understand and 
manage properly such a eomplieated kind of stock, 
and one so uncertain and so difficult to comprehend. 

I apprehend that when the facts connected with 
this subject are fuily known, and a true knowledge of 
the internal economy of the society of bees is simpli- 
fied and presented truthfully, without being inter- 
mixed with the remains of supei-atition, it will then be 
demonstrated that bees can be undex-atood and man- 
aged by the community at lai'ge upon the same gen- 
eral principles, and with similar assurances of suc- 
cess, as any other domestic stock. Any thing which 
I may present will be for the purpose of simplifying 
and removing objections which have by many been 
considered insurmountable to bee-keeping, and not 
with any desire to provoke controversy upon the part 
of any with whom I may chance to differ. 

In connection with my fii-st proposition, that no 
sovereignty is exercised by the queen, I have already 
given my reasons for this conclusion to a considera- 
ble extent, but will give some experiments to show 
that "Sach individual bee fuUy understands its own 
duty from instinct, without any instruction. Just aa 
soon as they were able to commence the performance 
thereof, I took a number of frames, (being full of 
combs, brood, &c.) shook the bees down on a sheet 
in front of the hive ; all the old bees, or nearly so, 
would within a few minutes take wing and return to 
their hive. I should remark, however, that a hive 

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was selected in which a lai-ge amount of brood liad 
boeo emerging for a day or two previous, atid waa 
still emerging. With a little patience and care, al- 
most every bee tfiat is old enoagh to fly can be re- 
moved or separated from those that are yet unable to 
lly; in this manner enough of these young bees can 
be obtained to make a small swarm, sufficient to 
keep two brood combs warm, if other combs are 
placed on each side, and the whole covered {w closed 
around, giving the colony space just in proportion to 
its size. Combs were selected from which braod waa 
i-apidly emerging; and an embryo queen was set in 
one of the combs, in a central position. This exper- 
imentwas made in very warm weather; the entrance 
was conti-acted so that robbers were Jiot likely to at- 
biok it. Now for the result. The ftret day, not a 
HMiglo bee could be seen to enter or depart; the sec- 
ond day, a bee might be seen coming out and appa^ 
rently making very short excui'sions, and again re- 
turning; this only occiuTed at long intervals. On 
examining the interior, t!io numbers seemed to bo 
very much increased by those that had emerged from 
the comb ; many bees could now be observed pretty 
well developed, apparently capable of going abroad 
to the fields and engaging in their daily avocations. 
On the third day a few more could be seen at the 
entrance. Fourth day, the number still increased; 
one could be seen occasionally carrying pollen ; 
young queen emerged evening of this day ; colony 
quite lively. Fifth day, began to work quite regu- 
larly, evidently carrying both honey and pollen. 

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Sixth day, atUI inerei^ing in strengtli. Seventh day, 
working quite briskly, considering the size of the 
colony. Eighth and ninth daya, working as strong, 
apparently, in proportion to their numbers, as any 
stock in the apiary. On the evening of the ninth 
day (five days from the time the queen emerged from 
her cell), a few eggs were observed in one of the 
combs. Tenth day, the number of eggs was greatly 
increased ; the queen was now fertile, and the exper- 
iment of making a colony of bees, composed entirely 
of young ones, without a single exception, was a 
perfect success, the bees continuing to thrive and do 

"We have instituted similar experiments with the 
same result. Can it he supposed, with any degree 
of plausibility, that those young bees were governed 
by a queen, or other royal dignitary, four days having 
elapsed without any queen being in 'the colonyj ex- 
cept the one yet sealed up in the cell ; nor were there 
any old bees to instruct them in the affaire of the 
colony. I forgot to mention that three queen cells 
were commenced before the queen emerged from her 
cell, but of course were then discontinued. In one or 
two cases, we have had them to rear and perfect 
queens in this manner. 

But I find, upon examination, that I am not the 
first to suppose that the queen exercised no authority 
over the other bees. Bonner, an eminent Scotch 
writer of the last century, uses the following lan- 
guage : 

" But as it is also now unanimously admitted that 

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lie {the queen) lays every egg in the hive, she 
ought mther be called the mother bee, for indeed 
t'l'om the beat observation that ever I could make, 
she possesses and exerts no sovereignty over the 
other bees ; she evidejiees the greatest anxiety for the 
good of the commonwealth with which sbe is con- 
nected, and indeed every member of it shows an 
equal regard for her welfare ; but I never could ob- 
serve that she issues any positive orders to be punctu- 
ally obeyed by the other bees. The truth seems to 
be, that she and the other bees are all equally ac- 
quainted with their duty by instinct, and have an 
equal pleasure in performing it, without waiting for 
ordei-3 from each other. That there is, nevertheless, 
the greatest order and regularity among them, is cer- 
tain, for they lay their plans and execute them in the 
best possible manner, by the influence of the above 

powerful substitute for reason." 


It seems evident that in the creation and organi- 
zation of societies or colonies of honey bees, as in 
other things, the sexes are, to a certain extent, depend- 
ent on each other for the propagation and perpetua- 
tion of their species ; but here we have the strange 
anomaly of the neuter gender, or rather of the unde- 
veloped sex (of which the colony is mainly composed), 
feeding and nui-sing the young, and caring for them 
with as much parental devotion and solicitude as 
though they were actually their own offspnng, the 
queen simply depositing the eggs in their appro- 

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priate place. It seems they also have tho knowledge 
and ability to rear the brood in euch manner as 
would seem best for the welfitve of the colony, either 
by raai-ing it all as undeveloped females (common 
workers), or fully developing a portion thereof and 
making queens. 

I refer to egga deposited in worker cells; those in 
drone cells are dronea, and nothing else. When a 
swarm issues from a colony, the workers are the first 
to go forth; a eonsidei-abie portion of the awarm 
generally emerges before the queen takes wing. 
This rule is deviated from in many instances in after 
swarms, but I never knew an instance with first 
swarms. The workere are also the fii'st to select a 
place to cluster ; and in many cases I have carefully 
observed to see if the queen was first, or even among 
the flrst, to alight ; but as a general thing a consid- 
erable portion of the swarm would cluster, when her 
ladyship might be seen alighting in their midst, 

I bave known swarms to cluster, and in some cases 
remain ttntil put into the hive, and then return to 
the parent stock, when I knew the queen had not 
left at all, having seen her running round on the 
alighting board and I'eturn into the liive, apparently 
unable to fly, or unwilling to risk herself on tho 
wing; the bees evidently having done their pai't, 
expected the queen to do hei-s. It is true, liowever, 
that in a very few cases I have known the queen to 
get down in the weeds or grass, being unable to arise 
and fly again ; the worker bees after some time 
would disoovev her, and would then clust-er upon and 

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meroHY and pHYSioLoar. 21 

around her. But this is not their natural way of 
doing ; it is tiio exception, and not the rule. Hence 
I conelutle the worker bees lead off in swarming and 
in clustering, the queen following instead of leading. 
Her presence is absolutely necessary to the welfare 
of the swarai, simply for the purpose of supplying 
the means of replenishing the stock; of this they 
seem perfectly aware. They prefer returning to the 
parent stock to setting up without her. 

When a swarm is hived, the workera lay the foun- 
dation of the combs, and carry on the work until 
finished; the queen depositing eggs in the cells as 
they are progressing, not waiting for their comple- 
tion. They also collect the food necessary for the 
sustenance of the entire colony. But some one is 
ready to siiy, perhaps the queen directs all this. Just 
take her away, and see how quickly a change will 
take place. Now let us see what the change will be. 
Suppose the queen has laid a few eggs in the first 
comb built, and we remove her from the hive en- 
tirely ; the bees will set to work to rear queens from 
those eggs, and the other business of the hive will 
go on as if nothing unusiial had happened ; honey 
and pollen will be gathered and stored ; whatever 
eggs or brood may be in the hive are properly cared 
for ; and all progress finely so loug as they have the 
means of supplying themselves with a queen. In- 
deed it is next to impossible even for the experienced 
apiai-ian to detect anything wrong from outside ap- 
pearances ; and yet there is no queen to direct them 
or instruct them in their duty ; every member of the 

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colony, aa has already been remarked, knows its 
duty, and discharges that duty with alacrity, not wait- 
ing for orders from the queen or from each other. 

When the yield of honey abroad is good, an in- 
creased amount of brood is reared ; but when it is 
cut off suddenly by fi'ost, or any other casualty, I 
have seen them drag the brood, both worker and 
drones, in all stages, fi-om the combs, at the same 
time killing and driving out the mature drones, aa if 
a famine was just at hand, fe it the queen that di- 
rects this destruction of her offipring? To test the 
matter to the satisfaction of any one, just remove the 
queen, when such a case occurs, from some strong 
stock, and the only perceptible difference will be, that 
the one having no queen will retain a portion of 
the drones, for the purpose, doubtless, of impregnate 
ing the young queen, should they be successful in 
rearing one from eggs in the combs when the queen 
is taken away. 

The preparation for swarming is, I believe, made 
entirely by the workers. The fact is stated by sev- 
eral authors, in which I concur, that a guard of 
worker bees are placed over the queen cells during 
their progress, to prevent the old queen from de- 
sti^oying them, which she would most certainly do if 
left to the freedom of her own will, and effectually 
prevent any swarm from going forth in a state of 
nature, the result of which would be to bring the 
whole race to an end ere long. 

Here we have positive evidence of the workers 
governing the queen, and controlling her actions. 

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When a top Bwavm has gone forth, tlie old queen 
accompanyiug them, leaving cmbiyo queens in the 
hive, the guaiii is continued to prevent the first one 
oat from rushing to and destroying all her sistei' 
queens, thereby preventing the possibility of any after 
awarms going forth. In some instances the young 
queens are inipiisoned in their cells for days, being 
fed through an opening at the end of the cell, by the 
workers, until cii-cumstancea change so as to make 
it proper to release them. 

Experiments can easily be instituted by amateurs, 
or any one doubting the truth of this, Ui test it, by 
constructing observatory hives, with glass sides, ex- 
posing to view the combs and al! the workings of 
the colony. Directions will be found on another 
page for constructing such hives. 

Thus we find the worker bees capable of carrying 
on all the aftairs of the hive, rearing a queen when 
destitute (providing they have eggs), controlling the 
queen, and preventing her from destroying the em- 
bryo queens ; and Iwill venture the opinion, that they 
(the workers) cause her to leave the old hive with the 
top swarm ; if left to herself, she would not emigrate 
from her old home. This is but an opinion, the truth 
of which timo and obsei-vation will demonstrate. 


That the colony is entirely dependent on the queen 
for a supply of eggs, few will doubt; but the idea 
has generally prevailed that this is not her only 

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duty. Cunositv has prompted rao to scrutinize thin 
matter pretty closely, but I have failed to diacovei 
that she performs any other office in the colony ex- 
cept the one just indicated. I never could observe 
that she had any care for her offipring, either feed- 
ing them or manifesting any parental anxiety what- 
ever for their welfare j iu fact, the workers, as a gen- 
eral thing, supply her ladyship with her food, from 
time to time, aa she requires it. 

Mr. Quinby, in referring to the duties of the 
queen, says, " the queen is the mother of the entire 
family ; her duty appeare to be only to deposit eggs 
in the ceils. I am also led to believe that the time 
for the queen to lay eggs, and the requisite quantity, 
is in a measure indicated by the workers — the kind 
of food which tliey give her, or the quantity of it, as 
the ease may be. This, I feel quite sure, promotes 
the rapid production and depositing of eggs in the 
one ease, and in the reverse of that a diminution, 
even to the entire cessation thereof," I have already 
noticed that the workers have the faculty or power 
of rearing a queen ffom an egg laid in a worker cell, 
by giving them a liberal supply of food of a peculiar 
Idnd, the effect of which seems to be the full devel- 
opment of the sex, which, if permitted to have re- 
mained in the worker cell, and been fed on the com- 
mon or ordinary food, it had been a worker, or a 
partially developed female. Here we see the pow- 
erful effects of stimulating food, for such it doubtless 
is. "Would it be unreasonable to suppose that food 
of a similar kind, given to the perfect queen, would 

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greatly affect tho production of eggs, cither to in- 
crease or diminish the quantity? 

That the food consumed by the queen, as a gen- 
eral tiling, is given to iiev in a prepared form Jiy tiie 
ivorkers, I have no doubt. The largo amount con- 
sumed by her, and no doubt necessary for her support 
dunng the time of Iter greatest activity in depositing 
eggs, has been noticed by authoi-s. 

It is well known that in a few days after honey bo- 
comes plenty in the fields, after a scarcity, the queen 
invanably becomes very prolific; a sufficient time 
apparently elapsing for an itici-eased amount of food 
to effect this change. The effect of an increased 
amount of honey abroad is about the same on colo- 
nies that have a large surplus of honey in store, as it 
is on those that have a small supply. Thus wo see 
it is not caused by actual scarcity or want of honey, 
but simply because the workers, in the exercise of 
their instinct (knowing the scarcity of honey abroad), 
withhold from the queen the amount of food iieces- 
saiy to stimulate her to greater fertility. A proper 
knowledge of this peculiarity will enable the apiarian 
to stimulate his bees to breed to their full capacity, 
by feeding when it is desirable to increase the num- 
ber of his stocks, or for the purpose of maldng those 
he may have strong and vigorous. 

It is well known to apiarians tbat the quantity of 
eggs is regulated in some way or other ; but no one, 
to my knowledge, has attempted to give the modus 
operandi. Mr. Langstroth says, " some apiarians be- 
lieve that she (the (pieen) can regulate their dovelop- 

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ment (egga), bo that few or many are produced, aecoril- 
ing to the necessities of the colony," That this is 
ti'ue to a certain extent, seems highly probable ; for 
if a queen is taken from a feeble colony, her abdo- 
men seldom appeai-s greatly distended; and yet, if 
put in a atrong one, she speedily becomes prolific. 
He continues : '* I conceive that she h^ the power 
of regulating or repressing the development of her 
eggs, eo that gradually she can diminish tbe number 
maturing and finally ceaae laying, and remain inac- 
tive as long as circumstances require." 

The old queen appears to qualify herself for ac- 
companying a first swarm, by repressing the devel- 
opment of eggs ; and as this is done at the most 
genial season of the year, it does not seem to be the 
result of atmospheric influence. The only diflereiice 
upon this point between Mr. Langstroth and myself 
is, that he ascribes entirely to the queen the ability 
to produce a gi'eater or less amount of eggs, whilst I 
believe this matter is regulated entirely by the com- 
mon worker bees, by the quantity or quality of food 
they give her; or in other woi-ds, she is an instru- 
ment which they use as they see fit, to supply them 
with eggs from which to replenish the hive with 
young workers. 


Tins may seem paradoxical to some, yet I think 
facts will fully confirm this opinion. The inveterate 
hostility that exists between queens is well known by 
all observing bee-kcepere. So tearful are they of a 

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rival in the family, that I have known tlicm fro- 
qoently to rush to the queen cells, and if permitted 
by the bees, destroy tlie contents of every one, from 
tlie larva of a day or two oid up to those in an ad- 
vanced stage ; and they are just as ready to do this, 
and will do it, if permitted, aa certainly, at the 
Hvvarming time, as at any other. This I have tested, 
by removing the queen from a Btrong stock, and im- 
prisoning her ill a queen cage, keeping her in another 
hive for a few days, until several queen cells were 
commenced, then placing the cage containing her 
back in her own hive, where she remained until the 
queen cells were advanced to the desired point. I 
once kept a queen in a cage in a hive having a fer- 
tile queen, for over three weeks, the bees feeding her 
all the time. If any one doubts that they (the work- 
ers) feed the queen, try this experiment; then set 
her at liberty in the hive, when she will immediately 
hunt out every cell and destroy it, thus taking the 
workers by surprise, as it were, they supposing, per- 
haps, that she is still in her prison, and not being 
prepared to guard the embryo queens, which they 
doubtless intend in part to use for the pui-pose of 
supplying swarms that might go forth, if circum- 
stances are favorable. This is on the supposition that 
the experiment is instituted in the swarming season. 
Bevan relates a circumstance just in point here. 
"In July, when the hive (one of Danbar's miiTor 
hives) had become filled with comh and bees and well 
stored with honey, and when the queen was very 

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fertile, I oxjened the hive and took her majesty away ; 
on tlie next clay I observed that they had fouuded 
five royal celb in the usual way, under such circum- 
stances; and in the course of the afternoon four more 
were founded on parts of the comb where there were 
eg-gs only a day or two old. Two of the royal cells 
advanced more rapidly than the rest, probably from 
the larva being of an egg the iitteat for the pui-pose ; 
four canie on more slowly, and three made no pro- 
gress after the third day. On the seventh, the two 
first were sealed, two more were nearly bo. On the 
morning of the fourteenth day from the old queen's 
removal, a young queen, differing in no respect from 
one produced in the natural way, emerged from her 
cell, and proceeded towai'd the other royal cell, evi- 
dently with a murderous intent. She was immedi- 
ately pulled back by the workers with violence, and 
this conduct wj^ repeated on their part as often as 
the queen renewed her destructive purpose ; at every 
repulse she appeared sulky, and cried 'peep,' 'peep;' 
the unhatched queen responding, but in a somewhat 
hoarser tone, owing to her confined situation. This 
parley, as Butler calls it, continued for several hours 
together, with intervale of about a minute. In the 
evening of the same day the second queen was hatch- 
ed, or emerged from her cell. I saw her, says Mr. B., 
come forth in majesty, finely and delicately formed, 
but smaller than the other." 

In this case it is very evident that they designed 
one of these queens to go off with a swarm. I 

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tilSl'ORi: AND PHYSIOLOGY. '2if 

should perliapa remai"k, that thia experiment was 
made in an observatory hive, glasa sides — what Bevau 
calls a mirror hive. 

Saddenly alarm a colony that has its preparations 
for swarming nearly completed, i. e. young queens 
in an advanced condition, such aa are found previous 
to the first swarm going forth, so as to withdraw the 
attention of the guard of workers from the i-oyat 
cells for a time, as a general thing the old queen will 
destroy all the embiyo queens ; she will most cer- 
tainly do so, if not prevented by the workers. Does 
not thia prove veiy conclusively that the qneen of 
a colony does not desire any other queen raised 
JTi her domains, for any purpose, and consequently 
does not deposit any eggs in the royal cells ? 

The workers, when they find it necessary to roar 
queens, either for the purpose of supplying the place 
i:)f one just taken from them, or for swarming pur- 
poses, remove eggs from the worker cells and place 
thom in the prepared queen cells. I have known 
them to do this frequently, when I have removed the 
queen. Several cells would be built from three- 
eighths to half an inch deep, within twenty-four to 
forty houre. I have looked into these very fre- 
quently, when no egg was to be seen, and noted such 
cells carefully, having examined again and again. 
Perhaps in a few hours, or during that day or the 
next, an egg could be distinctly seen attached to the 
top of the cell, nothing else being in the cell ; a few 
lioura afterward a very small quantity of a whitish 
substance could be seen surrounding the egg; this 

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was greatly iucroasecl after tlie egg waa lial(;lun! out 
and became lai^va. 

This experimeut I liave tried time and again, with 
the same result. There being no qnsen in the hive, 
how came the egg in the queen cell, unlesa the work- 
ers removed it thither ? That they did this, I have 
no reason to doubt. If they are capuble of doing ao 
in the absence of a qneeu, is it not reasonable to 
suppose that they can do so when preparing to swarm, 
while the queen still remains in the hive; and fur- 
ther, that this is the method generally practiced. 

Sometimes the pai'titions between two or three cells 
were pierced out and formed into a queen cell. 
Where there is young larva two or three days old, 
such are not removed. Celly constructed in this way 
are generally but a few degrees from a Iioiizontal 
position; whilst queens raised from the egg almost 
invariably occupy a perpendicular position. Que.ry. 
Does not this offer a solution to the mystery of drone 
laying queens, they having been but imperfectly de- 
veloped ? 


I liave failed thus far to discover or observe that 
any homage was done the queen, unless feeding liev 
may ho considered as such ; this I apprehend has 
been mistaken, for that fond caressing which some 
authors laud so highly. When the true state of the 
case is understood, it will strip the queen of much of 
rovalty "with whiiih she ]in-^ heen invested. The guard 

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of honor which some authors have aecoi'ded her, is 
likely to be reduced to a few menials, whose hnsiness 
it is to prepare her meals and serve them up to her. 
When she is passing over the brood-comb, apparently 
searching for the proper cells in which to deposit her 
cgga, the workers step aside and give her room to 
proceed with her work ; just as a man who was stand- 
ing idle would step aside to give room to another to 
iiE'oceed with his work, no homage being done in 
either case, nor yet any filial affection shown. 

When I have observed the queen in any other posi- 
tion than on the brood comb, she would pass over or 
amongst the workers just as any humble worker 
nnght do ; very seldom, indeed, do they get out of 
hei- way. She has her peculiar stately, or rather 
ambling motion, which serves to distinguish her from 
any other in the hive ; this is doubtless caused by the 
vast amount of food consamed, and the immense 
number of eggs elaborated by lier when in her great- 
est fertility, and not from a knowledge of royal blood 
flowing in her veins. 

The motions of the young queen betbre she becomes 
fertile, are but little different from the ivorkei-s ; she 
is quite brisk and active, either on foot or on the 
wing. Ho notice apparently is taken of her until 
she becomes fertile (by the workers); this fact has 
been related by several authors. When she becomes 
fertile, and enters upon her duties — as I have stated, 
passing over the brood combs, depositing eggs — the 
workers simply stepping out of the way, permitting 
her to proceed with her labors without hindrance; 

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add to this the fact that a tew bees prepare and sup- 
ply her with food, in connection with the knowledge 
or instinct which teaches the bees the necessity tor 
the presence of the queen, merely for the purpose of 
supplying the hive with egga — and we have all of 
royalty or filial affection for the queen by the work- 
ers which I have been able to discover. Whenever 
she ceases to perform this duty to the satisfaction of 
the workers — when from age or accident she becomes 
less prolific, ceasing to fhrnish sufficient eggs to sup- 
ply the wants of the colony — how do the workers 
proceed? "S^re they prompted by their filial affection 
for their mother, so to speak, to permit her to remain 
mistress of the hive, doing the best service her age 
or infirmities would permit her to render ? Nay ; 
when this occurs, they rear one or more young queens 
(we might suppose, in opposition to her remon- 
strances, or perhaps entreaties). "When one is in a 
fit condition to take her place, she is ignominionsly 
sacrificed, apparently for the good of the society for 
which she is unable longer to furnish the means of 
perpetuation. Just as soon as she fails to perform 
her appropriate duties, she is dealt with as remorse- 
lessly and 88 promptly by the workers as the drones 
are when they cease to he useful to promote the 
welfare of the colony; hence the old adage is true, 
that in a hive not a single useless idle bee is permitted 
to remain. 

My object has been to get at facts; I have no 
disposition to attempt to underrate the value and the 
well known and absolute necessity of the queen ; no 

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colony can possibly exist more than a few weeks, or 
at most a few months, without her; but I deem it 
necessary to explain things aa experience has taught 


It has been hinted already, that the worker bees 
*n)uld rear a queen at will from any egg laid in it 
worker cell ; this they do when left to take their own 
course, or when in a state of nature, in order to pro- 
vide queens for swarms that may issue. They also 
do this when their queen is removed from the hive 
for the purpose of making artificial swarms, or by 
any accident, provided they have or are supplied 
with brood-comb, containing eggs, or larva not more 
than four days old. These are what, for the sake of 
distinction, are called artificial queens, but I never 
could discover any difierence between them and 
those i-aised naturally (or when they are preparing to 
swarm — the other queen still remaining in the hive), 
when in both cases they commenced with the uu- 
batched egg and not with larva. 

When the queen is taken from a colony, instinct or 
reason, if I may be permitted so to term it, teaches 
the workers the importance of having her place 
supplied, at the very earliest possible moment, with 
another fertile queen. They are also aware, no doubt, 
that this desirable object may be attained a few days 
sooner, by taking a larva that has been batched three 
or four days, and fed on food on!y designed to de- 
veJope it as a common worker up to that time. The 
cell is now greatly enlarged, by cutting out the par- 

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34 BEES AKIi iiI!B-KEEPrNa. 

titiona between that and adjoining cells, and rearing 
a cell in proper form. The forcing process, so to 
speak, ia now eommeneed, by supplying the lai-va 
with a largequantityof royal jelly, instead of the ple- 
beian food on which it fed for the first few days of ita 
existence. Cells constructed for larva of this kind 
differ from those constructed for eggs, in two partic- 
ulars ; in the first place, 'they are less in size and 
nearly horizontal, while those eonatracted for eggs 
are almost invariably perpendicular, so much so that 
the embryo queen stands on her head, whilst in the 
other ease she lies almost flat on her hack, similar to 
the woriiers in the embryo state. When queens 
raised from lai^vahave emerged, which I have known 
them to do on the twelfth day from the removal of 
the old queen, and indeed in one or two instances on 
the eleventh day, they are less in size, shorter in the 
body, and of a darker color, being of a greenish 
brown, very similar to the worker, but destitute of 
that rich copper brown which so distinctly marks 
the peifeet queen raised direct from the egg. I think 
it highly probable that to this cause may bo ti-aced 
the anomaly that has puzzled apiarians for ages past, 
i. e. drone-laying queens and fertile workers, each of 
which will be noticed elsewhere; and I have no 
doubt this peculiarity has misled Mr. Quinby and 
many others in their experiments in rearing artificial 
queens, as they are generally called. 

In all cases where it is desirable to have bees rear 
queens other than those they rear of their own ac- 
cord, comb should be selected having unhatehed eggs 

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in, and it should invariably be placed in a central 
position in tbe colony, where the highest degree of 
temperature is found; in very full, strong atoeliB, 
almost any well covered position with beea will do. 
I have generally found that the moat perfect and vig- 
orous queens are raised in colonies that were capable 
of maintaining a uniform temperature in tbe hive, 
above eighty degrees I'ahrenheit. According to Be- 
van, it requires the temperature to be seventy degi-ees 
and upward to hatch the egg. Tbe influence of tem- 
perature is very great in developing all varieties of 
the bee, but particularly so witb queens. It is quite 
easy to place a comb in any movable comb bive 
containing eggs, from which several queen cells are 
generally suspended, being about an inch long, and 
three-eighths of an inch in diameter. "When these 
cells are built about one-third of their length, being 
similar to the cup of an acorn, the egg is placed in 
it (as I believe, by the workei-s), when it hatches and 
becomes a worm; it is supplied with royal jelly, in 
very small particles at firat, and increased as the 
worm or larva acems to require it ; there is generally 
more given or put into the cell than is consumed. 
This kind of food is peculiar to the queen cells, and 
is not found in any other place in or about the hive. 
Royal larva construet only imperfect cocoons, open 
behind, and enveloping only the head, thorax and 
first ling of the abdom.en. A curious circumstance 
occurs with respect to the hatching of the queen 
bee. When the pupa, or nymph, is about to change 
into the perfect insect, the bees render the cover of 

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the eelL thinner by gnawing away part of the wax, 
ecooping it out in waved circles at its edges ; and 
with so much nicety do they perform this operation, 
that the cover at laat becomes pellucid, owing to its 
extreme thinness, thus facilitating the exit of the 

After the transformation is thus completed, the 
young queens would generally immediately emerge 
from tlieir cells, as workers and drones do ; but the 
former frequently keep the royal infants prisoners 
for some days, supplying them in the mean time with 
food through a small opening in the bottom of the 
cell, through which the confined queen tlirusts her 
proboscis to receive it. 

In rearing queens to supply queenless hives, or to 
supply artificial swarms, I would recommend the apia- 
rian to examine carefully, about the seventh or eight!! 
day from the time eggs were given to the colony, 
and one or two cells will usually be found considera- 
bly in advance of all the rest. These should be re- 
moved. If there are still others left in the hive, they 
may be given to colonies; but I do not regard them 
as very reliable, sometimes not being fully developed, 
having been reared from larva that ivere too far 
advanced as workers. Those reared directly from 
the eggs I regard as being superior in point of devel- 
opment, and consequently more reliable as prolific 
queens. This v\'i!l be discussed at greater length in 
another place. I should remark, however, that the 
young queen goes forth from the hive about the 
second or third day after she emerges from the cell, 

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to meet the drone or male bee in the air, where 
coition takes place. 

I have already noticed that queens reared from 
larva three or four days old, would emerge from tlioir 
cells as early as the eleventh or twelfth day from 
the time of removing the old queen"; whilst those 
reared directly from eggs would lack three or four 
days of being sufficiently matui-ed to emerge from 
the cell, conaequcntly they would be consigned to 
certain desti'Uction by the perhaps immature queeu 
that came out first, unless it should happen in the 
swarming season, and the colony designed to swarm. 
If later in the season than this, the result would be 
about this : the first queen to emerge from her cell, 
xvhether fully developed or isot, would destroy all 
those yet in their cells within a few hours, and cer- 
tainly before she went abroad to meet the drones to 
become fertilized ; so that she would he the only 
dependence of tlie colony, there being now no eggs 
in the hive from which to rear another queen, whether 
sufficiently developed to become a mother or not. 

But suppose she is not sufficiently developed, as a 
qvieeu or female, to have connection with the drone, 
and thus become fertilized, but enough so to attempt 
the desired object, what would be the probable re- 
sult ? She would either repeat her excursions abroad, 
to meet the drones, day after day, for a considerable 
length of time, until she met with some accident that 
would teiTTiinate her existence ; or after a certain time, 
Eis some think, she would commence laying drone 
eggs, being incapable of furnishing any other kind. 

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Ill one instance, during the past season, I knew a 
queen of this kind ; she was quite small, being but 
little larger than a common worker, and very nearly 
of the same color ; she emerged from her cell on the 
eleventh day from the removal of the queen, and 
consequently must have been reared from larva, I 
was careful to watch her, and saw her about one 
o'clock on the second day, issue from the hive. 
I continued my observations, and saw her go forth 
five or six different days ; she remained in the hive 
until about the eixteenth day from the time she 
emerged from her cell. No eggs could be found in 
any of the combs, neither drone nor worker cells, and 
I could not discover any difference in her size or 
appeai-ance, as is always the ease when queens be- 
come fertile. I then removed her and gave another 
queen to the colony. I feel pretty confident that she 
was not sufficiently developed to become a prolific 
queen, or even to become a mother at ail, unless, 
indeed, the theory of an unimpregnated queen pro- 
ducing only drones, is true. I think it quite reason- 
able to suppose that various points of development 
may and are occasionally attained, between the com- 
mon worker bee and the perfect queen, arising either 
from the fact of the larva being too far advanced, 
before feeding royal jelly, to be fully developed, or 
from being reared in a cool situation or imperfectly 

It is of great impoi'tance to place brood-cooib con- 
taining eggs from which to rear queens, in a central 
position in the colony ; if put in a hive that has sent 

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off a awarni or two, it will not do to put it near the 
lower ends of the combs, as there is not )ikely to be 
a sufficient quantity of bees to keep up the heat to 
the proper temperature ; and to put combs on the top 
of the hive is nonsense. Whoever expects to rear 
queens in either way, will be disappointed. 

Mr. Quinby has doubtless fallen into one or all of 
these en-ors, which is common to first experiments. 
His mode of managing bees, prior to writing his 
work, had been such, I apprehend, as not to make 
the rearing of artificial queens of ranch importance 
to him as a matter of profit ; hence I conclude he has 
not given this subject as much study and careful 
experiment as some others, wliose object lias been t^a 
increase their number of stoclcs in the most rapid 
manner possible. 

Mr, Quinby says : " Obtain a piece of brood-comb 
containing workers' eg^, or larva very young. You 
will generally find it without much trouble, in a 
young swarm that is making combs ; the lower ends 
usually contain eggs; take a piece from one of the 
middle sheets, two or three inches long ; { yon will 
probably use. smoke by this time, without telling.) 
Invert the hive that is to receive it, put the piece 
edgewise bet^veen the combs, if you can spread them 
apart enough for the purpose ; they will hold it there^ 
and then there will be ample room to make the cells. 
They will nearly always rear several queens. I have 
counted nine several times, which were al! they had 
room for. But yet I have very little confidence in 
such queens, they arc almost certain to be lost." 

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Again be says: "I have put such piece of brood- 
comb ill a small glass box on tlie top of the hive 
instead of the bottom, because it was less trouble ,• 
but ill this case the eggs were all removed in a short 
time; whether a queen was reared in the hive or 
not, I cannot say ; but this I know, I never obtained 
a prolific queen, after repeated experiments in this 
way," He continues: "It would appear that I have 
been more unfortunate with queens reared in this 
way than most oxperimentera. I have no difiieulty 
to get them formed, to all appearance perfect, but 
lose them afterward. JSTovv whether this arose from 
some lack of physical development, by taking grubs 
too far advanced to make a perfect change, or 
whether they were reai'ed so late in the season, that 
most of the drones were desti'oyed, and tlie queen to 
meet one bad to repeat her excursions till lost, I am 
yet unable to /mZ7«/ determine," . . . " Tet occasion- 
ally prolific queens have been reared when I could 
account for their oi-igin in no other way but from 
worker eggs." 

These are just the results I would anticipate from 
the manner of conducting these experiments; I 
should have expected them to be instituted in a more 
workman-like manner, at least more in accordance 
with the habits of the bee. Mr. Quinby seems rather 
in doubt whether bees can and do raise prolific queens 
from worker eggs. However, this question is now so 
well understood, having been clearly demonstrated 
by such authors as Bchirach, Februier, Swammerdam, 
Huber, Bonner, Bevan, Lan^troth and others, that I 

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HlSTOItl' AN!) PilYSIULOyy. 41 

Jippreheud uo rcaaoiiablc tloabt can exist of the truth 
of worker bcce raiHiiig perfect prolific queens from any 
eggs that would liave produced workers, or of rear- 
ing workers from any eggs that wouJd have produced 
a queen ; for I am fully satisfied that but two kinds 
of eggs are ever found in a hive of bees, moth eggs 
excepted. The one may be found in droue cells, 
which will produce only drones ; the other may be 
fomid in the worker cells, and will produce only 
females, either partially or fully developed, as circum- 
stances may seem to suggest to the instinct of the 

I have adverted to Mr. Quinby's experiments, and 
his position with reference to the rearing of queens 
from eggs laid in worker cells, or artificial queens, if 
you please, from no unkind motives, or with a view 
to deti'act from his mente as an author, but to ex- 
plain, if possible, the cause of his failure, and thereby 
prevent others from falling into the same error. 

Bcvan says: "Bees, when deprived of their queen, 
liave the power of selecting one or more woriter 
eggs, or grabs, and converting them into queens; 
thus showing that there is no inherent difference in 
female ova to effect this. Each of the promoted 
eggs or grabs has a royal cell or cradle formed for 
it, and it is liberally supplied with royal jelly; this 
loyal jelly is a pungent food, prepared by the work- 
ing bees exclusively for the purpose of feeding such 
of the larva as are destined to become candidates for 
tl^o honora of royalty, whether it be their lot to ^sume 
them or not; it is more stimulating than the food of. 

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ordinary bees, baa not the same mawkish taste, antl 
is evidently acescent, or acid. From the firet, the 
roya! larva are supplied with it rather profusely, and 
there is always some left in the cell after their trans- 
formation. It becomes reddish or brown after re- 
maining for a time. Sehirach, who was secretary 
to the Apiarian Society in Upper Lusatia, and vicar 
of Little Bautzen, may be regarded as the discoverer 
or rather as the promulgator of this fact; and liis 
experiments, which were also frequently repeated by 
other members of the Luaatian society, have been 
amply confirmed bj' those of Huber, Bonner, Dunbar, 
Golding, and myself (Bevan). Keys was a violent 
skeptic upon this subject, bo likewise was John Hun- 
ter, But notwithstanding the criticisms and ridicule 
of tlie former, and the sarcastic strictures of the lat- 
ter, the sex of irorkers is now established beyond all 

" The fact is said to have been known long before 
Bchirach wrote. M. Vogel, and Signer Monticelli, 
alifeapolitan profe^or, have both asserted this. The 
former states it to have been known upward of fifty 
years, the latter a much longer period. He says that 
the Greeks and Turks in the Ionian islands, are well 
acquainted with it, and that in the little Sicilian island 
of Favignana, the art of producing queens has been 
known from very remote antiquity; he even thinks 
it w£is no secret to the ancient Greeks and Romans. 

"Swammerdam.was acquainted with the power of 
making artificial swarms. But the result of Schi- 
rach's experimeniB was, that all workers were origin- 

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i\\\y females, but that their organs of generation were 
obliterated, merely because the germs of them were 
not developed, their being fed and treated in a par- 
ticular manner in their infancy, in their worm state, 
being necessary, in his opinion, to effect that devel- 
opnieut. Subsequent experiments have shown, how- 
ever, that the organs are not entirely obliterated; 
they seem to be merely restrained from unfolding 
themselves by the size of their cradle and the quality 
of their food. 

"The most incomprehensible part of the process 
is, that increasing the size and changing the direc- 
tion of the cell, and feeding the larva with a more 
pungent food, should not only allow the sexual or- 
gans of the insect to be fully developed, but should 
alter the shape of her tongue, her jaws, and her 
sting, deprive her of the power to secrete wax, and 
obliterate the baskets which, but for the changes 
just referred to, would have been foiined upon her 

Thus we find that this matter was well understood 
many years, if not many centuries ago. Any writer 
who doubts that bees ean and do raise perfect queens 
from eggs laid in worker cells, has certainly failed 
to acquaint himself with the standard writers of the 
last century, or the first half of the present, or has 
fsiiled to test the matter by properly institnted experi- 

I have dwelt at considerable length on this subject, 
as I consider it one of the most important connected 
with bee-keeping. 

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( OF QtfEENS. 

Having traced this wonderful inaeet from tlie egg 
to tlie perfectly formed virgm queeo, giving au ae- 
comit of various experiments, and the views of differ- 
ent authors in regard to the rearing of queens, &e. 
I shall now advert to the more intricate and seem- 
ingly inyaterions process of the impregnation of the 

This is a subject, (as Bevaii remarks,) which was 
long involved in obscurity, and which indeed is still 
clouded by some uncertainty. Schirach and Bou- 
ner denied the necessity of sexual intercourse be- 
tween tlic queen and drones, considering the former 
a mother and yet a virgin. Swammerdam held the 
same opinion ; he ascribes the impregnation to a 
vivifying seminal aura, which is exhaled from the 
drones and penetrates the body of the queen. Eeau- 
mur successfully combated this fanciful doctrine, and 
Huher refuted it by experiment. Reaumur supposed 
that there was a sexual intercourse, though his ex- 
periments left that question undecided. 

Arthur Dobhs, Esq. has given it as his opiiiion, 
that the queen's eggs were impregnated by coition 
with the drones, and that a renewal of the inteT- 
course was unnecessary; he, however, thought that 
she had intercourse with several, in order that there 
might be a sufficient deposition of speirni to impreg- 
nate all her eggs. 

The experiments of Huber were made upon virgin 
queens, with whose history he was acquainted from 
the moment they left their cells. In the course of his 

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experiments he found that the queens were never im- 
pregnated as long as they remained in the hive ; but 
that impregnation always takes place in the open air, 
whilst on the wing, at a time when the heat and 
brightness of the day have induced the drones in 
large quantities to issue from the hives, on which oc- 
casion the queen soars high in the air, love being the 
motive for the only distant journey she over takes. 

"The rencontre and copulation of the queen with 
the drone takes place exterior to the hive," says 
Lombard, " and whilst they are on the wing. They 
are constituted in a similar manner with the family 
of flies. The dragon flies copulate as they fly through 
the air, in which state they have the appearance of 
a double insect." 

Bevan says : " I waa myself an eye witness of the 
following circumstances of the humble bee. A con- 
joined pair descended obliquely and rapidly through 
the air, making a loud buzz, and alighted near me. I 
placed a tumbler glass over them, and obser\-ed their 
proceedings for about twenty minutes, when they 
became disunited, but with considerable difficulty, 
and not without an angiy scufle. Having kept them 
together for two days, feeding them occasionally, I 
cotild not perceive any further advances on either 
side, but rather aversion. At the end of this time 
the drone, or male, died, but the queen, or female, 
lived, and appeared lively for many days ; when I 
Anally gave her her liberty, she flew gaily away." 

This occurrence of Sevan's proves very clearly that 
the humble bee is impregnated on the wing. It is 

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well Icuown, also, that tho nest is begun iq the spring 
by a single bee, which ia fertile and capable of laying 
eggs, from which a brood is raised, and ere long 
quite a colony is found. The same phenomenon 
occm-swith hornets, j'ellow jackets aud wasps, all of 
which are closely allied to the honey bee. It is quite 
evident that the queen, or the female, wliich starts 
the neat and deposits tho first eggs, has been im- 
pregnated the fall previous, and when once fertile it 
serves for life. 

But to return to the honey bee. If the queen 
should be confined to the hive, even amidst a seraglio 
of drones, ahe would continue barren ; but she usually 
takes her flight about the second or third day after 
leaving the cell, commonly from twelve to two 
o'clock, generally preceded by the drones. After 
traversing the alighting board for a few moments, 
she flies back and forth in front of the hive, until 
reaching the top of the covering or shed, when she 
describes small circles at first, gradually enlarging ; 
after thus surveying her locality, and noting carefully 
the surrounding objects (apparently for the purpose 
of enabling her to reach home when she would make 
her final excursion), she returns to the hive, again 
alighting and traversing the alighting board, passing 
into the hive and out again in front, when finally she 
rises aloft in the air, describing in her flight hori- 
zontal circles of considerable and gradually increasing 
diameter, and soars at last to such a height as to 
render it impossible to follow her movements. She 
genci-ally returns from her aerial excursion in about 

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half an hour, with the unmistakable marks of her 
amours upon her. Excursions are sometimes made 
for a shorter period, but she seldom exhibits signs of 
being impregnated after these. 

According to Huber, one impregnation is sufficient 
to fertilize all the eggs that are laid for two years 
afterward, and perhaps sufficient to fertilize all that 
she lays during her whole life. This may seem in- 
credible to many; but need not, when we consider 
that in the common spider, aceoi'ding to Audibert, 
the fertilizing effects contiime for many years. 

Impregnation in insects appeai-s to take place 
whilst the eggs pass a reservoir containing sperm, 
situated near the termination of the oviduct in the 
valve. " In dissecting the female parts in the silk 
riioth," says Mr. Hunter, "I discovered a bag lying 
in what maybe called the vagina or common oviduct, 
whose mouth or opening was external, but it had a 
canal of communication between it and the oviduct, 
In dissecting these parts before copulation, I found 
this bag empty; and when I dissected them after- 
ward, I found it full." By the most decisive ex- 
periments, such as covering the ova of the unimpreg- 
nated moth after exclusion, with the liq^uor taken 
from this bag, found in those which were known to 
have had sexual connection, rendering them fertile, 
he demonstrated that this bag was a reservoir for the 
speiTaatio Auid, to impregnate the eggs as they were 
ready for exclusion, and that coition and impreg- 
nation were not simultaneous. 

Linnreus thought there was a sexual intercourse 

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48 felKS AKD BEE-ivEEPlSti. 

between the queens and the drones; and he even 
suspected that it proved fatal to the latter. Swam- 
taerdam gives, in his "Researches in Entomoiogy," 
during the latter part of the seventeenth century, a 
minute drawing of the ovaries of the queen, greatly 
magnified, which shows a small bag or eac lying in 
the vagina or common oviduct, very similar to that 
found by Mr. Hunter in the silk moth. I think it 
reasonable to suppose that this eac is the receptacle 
for the male sperm, wMcli serves to fertilize all the 
eggs whick the queen may produce for life. 

Thus far, I believe this theory to be correct; but 
the process by which this is brought in contact and 
incorporated with the rudiments of the eggs as pro- 
duced in the ovaries of the queen, is yet, I apprehend, 
considerably in the dark. 

Before entering upon this point, I will relate what 
occuiTed under my own observation, in regard to the 
impregnation of the queen. On the 25th of M"ay, 
'1859, 1 observed a young queen (on the third day 
after she emerged from her cell,) leave the hive about 
half past twelve o'clock; the divDues were abroad in 
advance of her, buzzing around in every direction 
through the air. I watched carefully for her return, 
contracting the entrance a little to prevent her pass- 
ing directly in. In about twenty-five minutes she 
returned, with the unmistakable marks of coition ; 
her appearance was similar to that presented by a 
worker bee when pressed between the thumb and 
fingers, until the intestines, or the whitish substance 
■which surrounds and is connected with the sting, pro- 

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rnslQilt AKD niYtflOLOQV. 49 

triuies a Httic beyond the suiTOUiiding aurtace, pro- 
ducing aa enlargement of the parts, giving her the 
appearance of being wounded or pressed sufficient to 
cause the protrusion. On the seoond day, about three 
o'clock, I examined the combs, and found eggs in 
one comb (worker cells), in a circle, the diameter of 
which was about four inches; they were on both 
aides of the comb, Witli a little more care I could 
have ascertained nearly the exact time that elapsed 
between the coition of the queen and depositing of 

I would suggest this method to my friend, Mr. 
Qulnby, as a solution of the questions he would like 
to ask, on page 251 of his work. 

Since that time, I have seen three other queens 
return from their excursions, with the same peculiar 
appearance, and in every case eggs conkl bo found in 
the combs within two or three days. On other occa- 
sions, I have seen queens return to the hive as trim 
and nice as when they went forth, without any change 
in their appearance, being unsuccessful, no doubt, in 
their amours; no eggs could be found, as in the for- 
mer cases. From- these and other observations, I 
feel assured that the queen has connection with the 
drone on the wing, and that by close observation on 
her return to the hive, her success or failure can be 
veiy easily detected, and the time of her laying eggs 
predicted with groat certainty by the apiarian. 

This part of tlie business can be more readily seen 
and comprehended, than how the eggs yet unformed 
are affected by this impregnation. 

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I have already stated that the queeu ia provideiJ 
with a small receptacle to receive and contain the 
vivifying aperni obtained from the drone by coition. 
The great myatery to be solved is, how does the queen 
draw upon thia store of fluid, from time to time, to 
fertilize the eggs which are generated in her ovaries ? 
Does this fluid come in contact and become incor- 
porated and combined with the juices or fluids pecu- 
liar to the queen, and of which doubtless the eggs 
are composed in a great measure ? Is it in tliis man- 
ner that the future sex of her offipring is deter- 
mined? Or is it only necessary for the egg {after it 
ia complete in al! its parts,) to come in contact with 
the mouth or opening of thia sperm receptacle, and 
thereby receive a sufficient portion to cause them to 
procreate ? And is it true that the female, or queen, 
is of herself, without being impregnated by the 
drone, capable of depositing eggs that will produce 
only dronea or males, perfect in all respects, and yet 
impregnation is absolutely required to produce the 
female ? 

That this is true, permit me at present to doubt; 
its assumptions are too extravagant, and so far from 
harmonizing with all animated nature with which I 
am in any way conversant, that I am led to believe 
further observatiou and closer investigation will be 
uecessaiy to fully demonstrate the true state of facta, 
and solve the mystery that yet surrounds this ques- 
tion. It is true, there are strong arguments in favor 
of this theory as well as against it, and further ex- 
periments may prove it to be correct ; yet there are 

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some serious difficultieB in the way, that to me, at 
least, seem bard to reconcile. 

Langstroth has elucidated this mystery, and no 
doubt made it very plain and satisfactory to himself, 
at least ; but a very few stubborn facta sometimes de- 
stroy the most beautifully drawn theories. 

Dzierzon asserts that all impregnated eggs produce 
females, either workers or queens; and all unim- 
pregnated ones, males or droiiea. He also states, 
that in several of his hives he found drone-laying 
queens, whose wings were so imperfect that they 
were unable to fly, and which on examination, prov- 
ed to be unfeenndated. {Query. How did he ascer- 
tain that feet ?) Hence he concludes that the eggs laid 
by the queen bee and fertile worker had from the 
previous impregnation of the egg from which they 
sprung, sufficient vitality to produce the drone, ^\hich 
is a less highly organized insect than tlie queen or 

This argument is far fetched, and not weli found- 
ed. Impregnation is, I think, essential to produce 
either male or female. He continues: "It liad long 
been known that the queen deposits drone eggs in 
the large or drone cells, and worker egga in the small 
or worker cells, and that she makes no mistakes." 
And he infers, therefore, that there was some way in 
which she was able to decide the sex of the egg he- 
fore it was laid, and that she must have such a con- 
trol over the mouth of the seminal sac as to be able 
to extrude her eggs, allowing them at will to receive 
or not a portion of its fertilizing contents. In this 

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way ho thouglit she determined their sex according 
to the size of the oella in which she laid them. 

I think it highly prohable that the queen under- 
stands quite well, that when she deposits an egg in 
a drone cell it will bring forth a drone, and if in a 
worker ceil it will bring forth a worker. That she 
does know when it is pi-oper to deposit eggs in drone 
cells preparatory to swarming in the spring, is at- 
tested by all observing apiarians. Who ever saw 
eggs laid in drone cells in midwinter, or early in the 
spring, until nearly the time for swarming? Yet it 
is well known that all strong stocks commence to 
breed early in January (if, indeed, they ever ceaae 
entirely); and aa the cold weather recedes the quan- 
tity is increased. In the latter pai-t of March and 
through April, a ver^' considerable quantity of brood 
may be fomid in all strong stocks in this latitude, 
42 degrees (of courae this will vary with dift'erent 
latitudes); and yet not a single drone can be found 
in any condition, from the egg to the perfect insect. 
I have ent holes in a worker bi-ood-eomb, and in- 
serted corresponding pieces of drone-comb, which 
they (the workers) would fasten and adjust very 
nicely, giving the appearance of drone cells inter- 
mixed with worker cells, and had all the worker 
cells ai-ound these drone cells filled with brood, but 
they remained empty; sometimes a little honey 
might be seen in them, as if stored there for imme- 
diate use. Again I have seen combs that were built 
irregular or in detached pieces; of these perhaps a 
piece of drone comb would be in a centra! position. 

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and toward the latter part of April would be sur- 
rounded on three eides by young woj'ker brood, yet 
not a single egg or young drone could be found in 
the drone cells. 

Some of ray readers will perhaps say that the 
queen laid eggs in all the cells in the comb indis- 
criminately, in drone as well as worker cells ; but that 
the workers would remove them from drone cells. To 
those who hold this opinion I would say, try the ex- 
periment, by preparing an observatory hive, and 
watch the queen when depositing eggs; and if you 
see her depositing a single egg in drone cells, al- 
though yon may have them interspersed all through 
and amongst the worker cells, prior to the time of 
the general, and I might say simultaneous laying of 
drone eggs, preparatory to swarming, I will present 
you -with a copy of this work, gratis. 

If it is true that the workers remove eggs from 
the drone cells and destroy them, as some may sup- 
pose, until the proper time arrives for rearing dranes, 
it is another strong fact in support of the worker 
bees controlling the entire economy of the hive. But 
when the proper season arrives for the great laying 
of drone eggs, aa Eevau calls it, which is generally 
the last of April or first of May, drone eggs may be 
found simultaneously in all strong stocks that are or 
have been similarly situated ; this will be varied by 
the weather and hy the yield of honey. That the 
queen understands when the proper time arrives for 
rearing drones, and that no drone eggs are laid prior 

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to that time, I liavo.not the slightest doabfc; whether 
this \s causod by the pecuUarity of the food given 
her, or from some other cause, I am yet undecided. 
But that she can fully control the producing and the 
laying of eggs to generate workera, when it is best 
so to do, withholding for a time, and when the proper 
time arrives, laying egga to produce drones or males, 
is quite certain. Hence I conclude that if she can 
control the laying of drone eggs in the spring of the 
year, she can control it in the summer, or at any 
season ; in short, that the queen knows the sex be- 
fore depositing the egg in the celi, and never makes 
any mistakes. 

If the theory is correct that the sex of the future 
hee is decided simply by a mechanical operation, 
caused by the pressure upon the abdomen of the 
queen, in the act of depositing an egg in a worker 
cell, thereby forcing a sufficient portion of the male 
sperm out upon the egg during its passage to fertil- 
ize it, and cause it to bo a female or a worker ; and 
in depositing an egg iu a drone cell, it being so much 
larger, no pressure occurs, and consequently it will 
be a drone, the queen having no special knowledge 
or will on the subject; how does it happen that no 
drone eggs are found prior to a certain time in the 
season? If this speculation is con-ect, then the 
queen would deposit eggs at any season of the year 
in drone ceils, where, intermixed with worker cells 
in the same comb presenting an unbroken surface, 
drones would be reared at all seasons, if any brood 

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was reared at all ; but thia not being the case, ia 
very atrong evidence that the theory is at fault, in 
fiict, that it is not true in any sense, 

langstroth's theory. 

Langstroth says : " My friend, Mr. Samuel Wag- 
oner, has advanced a highly ingenious theory, which 
aeeonnts for all the facta, without admitting that the 
queen has any special knowledge or will on the sub- 
ject. He supposes that when she deposits her eggs 
in the worker cells, her body is slightly compressed 
by their size, thus causing the eggs, as they pass the 
spermatheca, to receive its vivitying influence. On 
the eonti-aiy, when she is laying in drone cells, as 
this compression cannot take place, the mouth of the 
spermatheca is kept closed, and the eggs are neces- 
sarily unfecundated, producing only drones, &c." 

This is a very plausible theory, indeed, a.nd in the 
absence of positive evidence pro or eon, it might as 
well be received (for Bancomb). Yet I must say, I 
have no faith in it. Fiicts, and further experience and 
observation, will, I apprehend, demonstrate its fallacy. 

The seminal sac, as shown by the drawing of the 
ovaries of the queen, highly magnified, in Lang- 
stroth's work, ia near tlie terminus or outer end of 
the oviduct, consequently very near the hinder part 
of the queen ; now compare the size of this part of 
the body of the queen with the size of the worker 
cells, and we iind that the particular part where this 
eac is located could be thrust to the bottom of the cell 
without coming in contact with its sides. No pressure 

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could occur until about two-thirds of tlie abdomen, 
or the parta behind the thoi-ax, were thrust in ; thus 
whatever pressure might occur, would be at a point 
some distance from where this sac is located, and 
would not necessarily influence it in any respect ; in 
fact no pressure could occur by tliis process ou the , 
part where this seminal sac is located, if the anat- 
omy of the queen is properly illustrated by Lang^ 
etroth's microscopic view. 

There is another fact, however, in the practice of 
the queen, which, I presume, has been noticed by all 
apiarians, and is sufficient to show this theory to be 
incorrect. When a top-swarm, that has the old queen 
with them, is put in a hive, they immediately com- 
mence building combs, generally worker cells ; the 
queen follows them and deposits eggs in the cells, 
when the foundation is laid and the side walls of the 
cells are not more than one -sixteenth, and certainly 
not more than one-eighth of an inch high. Is it 
possible that the abdomen of the queen receives any 
pressure from the sides of the cells whilst in the act 
of thrusting her ovipositor into the cell to deposit the 
egg? Is it probable she would receive any greater 
pressure, in any possible contingency, in depositing 
eggs in worker cells than in drone cells, when neither 
of them is more than one-eighth of an inch deep ? 
Eggs are frequently thus deposited, both in worker 
and drone cells, the bees continuing to rear the cells 
until of the proper length. Such a theory is, in my 
opinion, simply absurd, but well calculated to amuse 
the ignorant and unobserviug. 

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At present I shall content myself with helieving, 
that a sufficient portion of the seminal fluid to cause 
the egg to generate is incorporated with it in its for- 
mation. The eggs to produce drones or males, are 
generated in or produced from the one side or branch 
of the ovaries, and those producing females from the 
other side. We find that the ovaries are separated 
into two equal parts (accoi-ding to Swaramerdam, 
after whom Langstroth copies), having no connec- 
tion whatever, except that the contents of each 
bmnch is discharged through tlie common oviduct 
or passage. Over the outlets of the passages or ovi- 
ducts opening from each of these divisions into the 
main channel or common oviduct, the queen has full 
control, and fully understands that eggs from the one 
division wil! produce drones and from the other, 
workers ; and the anomaly of drone-laying queens 
arises from the imperfect development of that part 
of the ovaries which produce eggs for workers. This 
hypothesis may be incorrect, but I trust careful ex- 
]-)eriment will be instituted by various apiarians, that 
the truth may he fully and fairly demonstmted. 

'niK WOltKER ]!KK, 

The working or common bees are no 
often seen, and have become so familiar 
to almost every one, that a particular de- 
scription may almost appear unneces- 
sary ; yet for the sake of uniformity, I 

They are less in size than either the queen or 

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drones, and the name they have so justly obtained, 
of working bees, clearly denotes theii- superior in- 
dustry in laboring for the whole colony. It is now 
generally admitted that they ai-e females, whose ova- 
ries are not sufficiently developed to enable them to 
become mothers ; yet they most undoubtedly possess 
fill the maternal affection and care for the young 
of the colony, nursing them, so to speak, and sup- 
plying all their wants ; in time of threatened danger 
they will cling to tbem, and risk their lives to protect 
them, as devotedly as any mother could do for her 
own offspring. 

I have never ascertained how many bees are re- 
quired to constitute what is generally called a good 
swarm, but authors estimate the number at from 
fifteen to thirty thousand workers ; this, of course, 
will be varied very much by the season and other .cir- 
cumstances. This estimate would, perhaps, apply to 
top-swarms from good sized hives. Bonner says that 
about five thousand workers weigh a pound ; if this 
estimate is correct, it would be easy, on hiving a 
swarm, to ascertain its numbers, by first weighing 
the hive and afterward both hive and swarm. 


The common worker bee, as well as the other two 
varieties of that valuable insect, consists of three 
parts. The head, which is attached to the thorax by 
a slender kind of neck ; there are two eyes placed 
in the head, of an oblong figure, dark brown or 
nearly black, transparent and immovable ; the mouth 

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or jaws, like those of some species of fish, open to 
the light and left, and serve instead of handa to carry 
out of the hive whatever incumber or offends them ; 
they are also provided with a proboscis or trunk, with 
which they suck up honey or any otlier desired sub- 
stance, and again deposit it in the combs; it is used 
at times as a trowel in building comba, placing with 
it the minute scales of wax in their appropriate 
places, and giving the desired polish to the cells. The 
thorax, or middle part between the head and the ab- 
domen, which is Dearly separated from the latter by 
an insection or division, connected by a very narrow 
neck or junction; to this four wings, a pair on each 
side, are attached, by which they arc not only enabled 
to fly witli heavy loads, but also to make those well 
known sounds by which they doubtless communicate 
with each other, serving as a kind of speech. They 
have also six legs, three on each side ; the foremost 
pair of these is the shortest — with these they unload 
the little pellets from the baskets on their thighs; 
the middle pair is somewhat longer, and the hind- 
most pair longest of ail; on the ontside of the 
middle joint of these last there is a small cavity, in 
the foiTH of what a Scotchman would call a marrow 
spoon, by some it is called a basket, in which they 
collect those loads of pollen which are frequently 
seen going into the hive, and by many supposed to 
be wax, 'This basket or hollow groove in the thigh 
is peculiar to the worker; neither queen nor drone 
has any thing of the kind. The belly is composed 
of six rings or folds, and contains, besides the intea- 

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tinea of the insect, the honey eac or bladder, the 
poison sac and the sting. The honey sac is a reser- 
voir into which is deposited the honey the bee sipa 
from the flowera, passing it through the pt'oboecis 
and the narrow pipes leading directly to the honey 
sac ; when ful! it is the size of a small pea, and so 
transparent that the color of the honey can be dis- 
tinguished through it ; this sac is provided with a 
set of muscles, by which it ia compressed at will- 
enabling the bee to empty it into the cells. When 
they get honey in large quantities, and are engaged 
filling this eao, the rings of the abdomen hare a vibra- 
torj' motion, similar to pumping; the sac ia entirely 
separate from the stomach. 

Every worker is armed and equipped for war, both 
offensive and defensive; their sting is a small but 
very effective weapon. Many men would flee from 
an attack by such weapons, who would scorn to turn 
their backs upon the bristling bayonet or the death- 
dealing cannon's mouth. The sting is provided with 
minute but very powerful muscles, by means of which 
the bee can dart it out with foi'ce sufficient to pene- 
trate through the thick skin of a man's hand. In 
length it is about the sixth pai't of an inch, largest at 
the root, tapering gradually toward the point, which 
is extremely small and sharp. When examined with 
a microscope, it appears to be polished extremely 
smooth, being composed of a horny substance. It ia 
hollow within, like a tube, through which the poison 
flows when a wound is inflicted. The point of the 
sting ia barbed, so that it is quite imposaible for the 

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bee to withdraw it from the wound, but the act of 
stinging any animal is generally fatal to itself, tearing 
out, as it were, a part of the entrails with the sting. 
These workers may be said to connpose the whole 
community, except in the season of the drones, which 
hardly lasts four months ; during the rest of the year 
there are no othei's found in the hive than workers 
and tlie queen. The whole labor of the hive is per- 
formed by them ; they build the combs, collect the 
honey, bring it home, and store it up in their waxen 
magazines ; they take charge of the eggs deposited 
by the queen, and rear therefrom queens, worker 
bees and drones ; they remove all incumbrances from 
the hives, and defend the community against the 
attack and encroachments of enemies; they also kill 
or drive out the drones when their services are no 
longer necessaiy: in short, the workers undertake 
and accomplish everything that is necessary to the 
welfare of the entire colony, except furnishing eggs 
to replenish the hive with a encccssion of young ones 
to take the place of the superannuated. 


The drones are a species of bees 
i\p1I known; in fact so distinctive is 
the name, that it is frequently applied 
to designate a certain class of man- 
kind. The drone can easily be dis- 
tinguished from the worker bee by 
itB greater bulk and clumsy, uncouth 
[s both thicker and longer; its head 

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is round, eggs full, and tongue or proboscis abort ; 
the form of the abdomen or belly is quite different 
from both queen and worker, the organs of generation 
being located in the drone where the sting is found 
in the worker. It makes a much coarser and more 
boisterous noise when flying, a peculiarity of itself 
sufficient to recognize it. 

The drone is now admitted by all writers to bo the 
male bee. A careful examination of their physical 
organization shows this clearly ; they have no sting 
to defend themselves with ; in short, they are physic- 
ally disqualiiied for the performance of any needful 
work in the colony ; the only necessity for their pre- 
sence seems to be to impregnate the young queens. 
When this is accomplished, or circumstances change 
so that they are no longer wanted for this purpose, 
the workers either kill them or drive them out of 
the hive, and there permit them to starve. If a hive 
has by any accident lost its queen, the drones are per- 
mitted to live, with the hope, no doubt, that a young 
queen may yet be raised, and their services needed. 

The drones generally make their appeamnee in 
this latitude, in the latter part of April or first of 
May ; in the Sacramento Valley, California, about 
the middle to latter part of March. This is also 
varied by locality and circumstances. They generally 
appear in very strong stocks, a little earlier than 
others ; but there is a strange unanimity in the ap- 
pearance of drones in the spring. In veiy weak 
stocks, few if any appear until perhaps the latter part 
of the clover, or beginning of the buckwheat, season. 

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The number iu a hive is sometimes very large, 
amounting to hundreds and even thousands. In 
apiaries where a considerable number of colonies are 
kept, but few drones should be raised in one hive; 
these will suffice for all practical purposes, as the num- 
ber in the aggregate is large. Any more than are 
necessary to impregnate all the young queens is a 
detriment to the wellare of the colony, being large 
consumers of honey without producing any ; hence 
it is impoi-taut to regulate the number. This can he 
done very readily, in the movable comb hives, by 
removing drone combs and cutting out drone-brood, 
when there is an excess in any one hive. Where 
only one or two hives are kept, a greater propoi'tion 
is necessary, to insure tlie meeting of the queen in 
the air by a drone, without subjecting her to the risk 
of being lost by i-oaming too long in search of one. 


Occasionally a queen is found whose eggs bring 
only drones, even if deposited in worker ceils. "We 
have had several eases of this kind during the hist 
few years ; two cases occurred the past summer. In 
one case I imprisoned the queen in a cage, and kept 
her in a hive that had a fertile queen ; the workers 
fed her and treated her kindly for a period of three 
weeks. I then put her into a small artificial swarm, 
that was destitute of a queen, but she very soon 
began again to lay drone eggs, when I destroyed her. 
She seemed perfect to all appearance, no deformity 
could be discovered, and she could fly with ease. It 

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is argued by Laiigstroth and others, that all c 
that fail to become impregnated within a certain 
period after maturity, invariably lay drone eggs, and 
consequently it is not necessary to have connection 
with the drone to produce males, it only being so in 
order to produce females. Although there are strong 
arguments in favor of this theory, yet I am not pre- 
pared to fully indorse it ; as already stated, I think 
the true cause may be found in a defect in the phy- 
sical structure of the queen, which causes her to 
produce only males. A careful microscopic exami- 
iiatiou would, I think, disclose the fact to be a 
deficiency in the ovaries where the female eggs are 
generated. I will experiment furtber upon this 
point, and satisfy myself, at least, of the truth, and 
trust otliera will do the same. 


I have seen some three or four cases of fertile 
workers, or a bee difi'ering so little from the most of 
workers as not to be distinguished from them, even 
by a very careful examination, but yet is capable 
of laying eggs. Two cases of this kind occurred in 
the last lot of bees shipped by me to California, in 
the fall of 1858. On opening them, one colony was 
observed that had no queen, yet eggs were found in 
drone cells, generally two or three, and in some as 
many aa tour in one cell ; a spiico of three or four 
inches square of comb was thus occupied; a few 
were hatched in the larva state. I made a very 
thorough search, but no queen, nor anything re- 

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seinbiiiig one, con'.d be found ; the colony had united 
with another that had a fertile queen, A few weeks 
after arriving, anotlier colony was observed in the 
same condition ; a few drones were capped, others 
in the larva state, but I think they did not possess 
BufRcient vitality to mature. 

Some writers account for their ability to lay eggs, 
by supposing tliat the workers accidentally dropped 
a portion of royal jelly in cells where young workers 
were advancing, which developed their ovaries suffi- 
ciently to produce eggs ; but I think facts will dis- 
prove this theory, when we consider that^ees are so 
skillful and perfect in all their operations, doing 
nothing at random, and nothing by accident; and 
when we observe that the queen cells are constructed 
in a perpendicular form, and isolated, as it were, 
from the common worker cells, it seems very improb- 
able, indeed, that it can be so. As I have already 
intimated, I believe all stages of development, be- 
tween the worker and the perfect queen, are occa- 
sionally found in the hive, and the fei-tile is so 
little different in appearance from the worker as not 
to be detected. That such exist there is abundant 
proof, although Mr. Quinby affects to disbelieve it. 
This, however, 13 easily accounted for, when we take 
into consideration that, when he wrote his work, he 
used only the square box hive, in which it would be 
very difficult, indeed almost impossible, to make ob- 
servations witb sufficient care to ascertain the (ruo 
state of the case, until the bees would dwindle away; 
and finally, it would be pronounced a case of lost 

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queen, (whicii would be true in a certain sense,) with- 
out ever, suspecting the abortive attempts to fill her 
place by a fertile worker. 

The existence of fertile workera has long been 
known to eminent writers, and this fact is brought 
forward to prove conclusively that the common 
workers are females. Eevaii says: That the working 
bees are females, is clear, from the circumstance of 
their being known to lay egga ; this fact was first 
noticed by Riem, and was afterward confirmed by 
Iluber, whose assistant on one occasion seized a fer- 
tile worker in the veiy act of laying. 

It is a remarkable fact that these fertile workers 
never lay any but drone eggs. This uninterrupted 
laying of drone egga was nciticed by the Lusatian 
observers, as well as by those of the Palatinate. 
Bonnet, on referring to this fact, supposes there must 
have been small queens mixed with the workers 
upon which the experiments were made, whose office 
it was to lay male eggs in all hives. Fertile workers 
appear smaller in the belly and more slender in the 
body than sterile workei-s, and this is the only exter- 
nal difference between them, says Bevan. 

If any further proof to establish the fact of work- 
era being fertile is needed, we have it in the dissec- 
tions of Miss Jurine, daughter of a distinguished 
naturalist of Geneva. By adopting a peculiar meth- 
od of preparing the subject, she brought into view 
the rudiments of the ovaria of the common worker 
bee ; her examination was repeated several times, 
always with the sa 

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In this latitude all strong stocks begin to roar 
brood in Januaiy ; indeed, in many eases they do not 
entirely cease ; and I believe this is their natural 
habit in climes most congenial to them. They begin 
by depositing eggs in a circle on each side of a comb, 
exactly opposite each other, and thus the heat is 
economized and concentrated to the best possible ad- 
vantage. I have frequently seen this circle not more 
than an inch and a half in diameter, but the amount 
is gradually increased toward spring ; and when the 
weather becomes warm and the fruit tree flowers 
expand, the quantity of brood ie greatly augmented. 

Here, again, we are constrained to believe that the 
bee possesses almost reasoning power. The colony is 
being constantly reduced by the number dying off 
during the winter, and in many cases if no young 
ones were reared to supply their places, the colony 
would become extinct before warm weather arrived ; 
if but a small number is being constantly reared, it 
nerves to keep up the colony. It requires, says 
Bevan, 70 degrees Fahrenheit to hatch the eggs, con- 
sequently weak stocks can make but little progi'esa 

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until warm weather; hence it is that strong stocks 
outstrip them so far, and arc so much more prof- 


I quote from Mr. Quiuby: "The first egga are 
deposited in the centre of the cluster of boes, in a 
small family; it may not be in the centre of the hive 
in all cases; but the middle of the cluster is the 
warmest place, wherever located. Here the queen 
will first commence ; a few cells, or a space not 
larger than a dollar, is first used, those exactly oppo- 
site on the same comb are next occupied. If the 
waiinth of the hive will allow, whether mild weather 
produces it or the family be large enough to generate 
that which ia artificial, appeara to make no difler- 
ence ; she will then take the next comh exactly 
corresponding with the first commencement, but not 
quite so large a place is used as in the first comb. 
The circle of eggs is then enlarged, and more are 
added in the next, &c. continuing to spread to the 
next combs, keeping the distance to the outside of the 
circle of eggs, to the centre or place of beginning, 
about equal on all sides, until they occupy the outside 
comb. Long before the outside comb is occupied, 
the first eggs deposited are matured, and the queen 
will return to the centre and use these ceils again, 
but is not so particular this time to fill so many in 
such exact order as at first. This is the general pro- 
cess of small or medium families. I have removed 
the bees from such in all stages of breeding, and 
always found their proceedings as described." 

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Mr. Diiiibar, an eminent Scotch apiarian, in a 
communication to the Edinburgh Philosophical Mag- 
azine, gives an account of the queen's manner of 
depositing eggs, which agrees so nearly with my 
own observations, that I give it in hia own woi-de. 
He states that when the queen is about to lay, she 
first puts her head into the cell (apparently to assure 
herself that it is in proper condition to receive the 
egg), and remains in that position for a second or 
two ; she then withdraws her head, and curving her 
body downward inserts her tail into the eel! ; in a 
few seconds she turns half round upon herself and 
withdraws, leaving an egg behind her, sticking to 
the bottom of the cell by a kind of glue or sticky 
substance, with which she seems to be provided for 
the purpose of holding it in its proper place until 
hatched. "When she lays a considerable number she 
does it equally on each side of the comb, those on 
one side being exactly opposite to those on the other, 
as the relative position of the cells will admit; the 
effect of this is to produce a concentration and econ- 
omy of heat for de>veloping the various changes of 
the brood. 


The eggs of bees are of an oblong or oval shape, 
with a slight curvature, and of a bluish white color, 
about the size of those which are laid by the butter- 
fly upon cabbage leaves, and are composed of a thin 
membrane, filled mth a whitish liquor. They remain 
unchanged in figure or situation in the cell for four 

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days, when they are hatched, tlie bottom of each cell 
presenting to view a white worm or maggot, of very 
small size, with sevei'al ventral rings. Immediately 
upon its hatching, or juat previons to it, the workers 
supply it with a veiy minute portion of food of a 
whitish color, wliich ia increased daily until the worm 
seems to float on a kind of whito liquid substance, 
which is without doubt their food, iiud so liieely do 
they gauge the necessary amount, that all is con- 
sumed, no surplus ever being found in the cell after 
the insect is matured and emerges. 

"When the worm grows so large as to touch the 
opposite angle of the cell, it coils itself up in a semi- 
circle, and gradually increases its dimensions until 
the two ends touch each other, forming a ring; 
whilst in these preliminary stages of existence it is 
called by various names, such as worm, larva, maggot 
and grub. Apiarians are not decided as to the exact 
composition of the food given them ; some suppose 
that pollen or bee-bread is the principal food required, 
whilst others think it is a mixture of pollen, honey 
and water, partly digested in the stomach of the 
nursing bees, the relative proportions of honey and 
pollen varying according to the age of the young. 
According to Bevan, the compound at first is nearly 
insipid, but gradually receives an accession of sweet- 
ness and acescency, which increases ae the insects 
approach maturity. 

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That a large proportion of pollen or bee-bread is 
used to feed the young bees, is, I think, vejy evident. 
I have almost invariably found, that when breeding 
is commenced, pollen is stored immediately adjoin- 
ing or very near the brood ; a strip of three or more 
cells in width gciiei^ally surrounds it. If at a seaaon 
when they are gathering and stonng it, and fre- 
quently before they get any from abroad, they will 
remove it from some other part of the combs, so a3 
to have it convenient, apparently for immediate use. 
This is also noticed by Bevan and Quinby. 

Pollen and honey are, I think, all that is necessary 
or used in rearing brood, Laiigstroth to the contrary, 
notwithstan ding. 

I have had bees confined for a period of forty- 
eight days, about one-third of which time they were 
in a wann latitude, in transit to California ; not a 
single drop of water did they get during all that 
time, and yet they reared and matured brood on the 
way; and it was found in some strong colonies, in all 
stages from the egg to those just emerging from the 
cells, on their arrival at Sacramento. In this case I 
am quite certain that nothing but boney and pollen 
were used to feed the young, or indeed to supply the 
wants of the old or mature bees of the colony; 
hence I conclude that these two ingredients form the 
food of the young bees. In this my experience ac- 
cords exactly with Mr. Quinby. 

He saya: "Some think it (water) is necessary in 

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rearing brood ; it may be needed, for that, but yet I 
have doubta if a particle is given to the young bee 
besides what the honey contains. I have known 
stocks (he continues,) repeatedly to mature brood 
from the egg to the perfect bee, when shut in a dark 
room for months, where it was impossible to obtain 
a drop; also stocks that stand in the cold, if good, 
will mature some brood, whether the bees can leave 
the hive or not." These facta prove that some are 
reared without water. 

The iarva, deriving its sustenance from tlie food, as 
has been intimated, continues to increase in size rap- 
idly until it occupies the whole breadth and very nearly 
the length of the cell, which generally occurs about 
the sixth' day from the time the egg is hatched, or 
from eight to ten days from the time it was laid; 
and this time is varied by the weather, the tempera- 
ture in the hive, amount of honey being collected, 
&c. I find authors dift'ering on this point, and con- 
demning each other for an apparent discrepancy in 
their statements, thereby insinuating that they were 
not to be relied on. Time waa, when I might have 
been led into this error, before I had an opportunity 
of observing the effects of climate and other circum- 
stances upon the development of brood. Circum- 
stances make as great, or perhaps a greater, differ- 
ence in the time of brood maturing as exists in the 

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liRKEDtNG. 73 

statements of different authors; hence I conclude 
tiiat no writer can tell, from a single etand-point, 
what time it requirea for brood to mature. 

The nursing bees now seal up the cell with a light 
brown cover, more or less convex. The cap of the 
drone cells is more convex than that of the worker, 
and thus differing from the honey cells, which are 
composed of pure wax, and are whiter and somewhat 
concave. The larva is no sooner perfectly inclosed 
than it begins to labor, alternately extending and 
shortening its body, whilst it lines the cell by spin- 
ning around itself, after the niannor of the silk 
worm, a whitish silky film or cocoon, which adheres 
firmly to the walls of the cell, remaining there after 
the bee emerges. It may appear somewhat extraor- 
dinary that a creatiire that takes its food so vora- 
ciously prior to assuming the pupa state, should live 
so long without any ; but it seems when it has at- 
tained to the pupa state it has reached its fall growth, 
and probably the nutriment taken so greedily is to 
serve as a store for developing the perfect insect. 
When in the pupa or chrysalis state, it presents no ap- 
pearance of external members, and retains no very 
marked indications of life; but within its case its 
organs are gradually and fully developing, and its 
integuments hardening and consolidating. 

The working bee nymph spins its cocoons in thirty- 
six hoursi After passing about three days in this 
state of preparation for a new existence, it gradually 
undergoes so great a change as not to retain a vestige 
of its previous form, but becomes armed with scales 

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of a dark brown color on its belly ; six rings become 
visible, wliicb by slipping one over another enables 
the bee to shorten its body. When it has reached 
about the twentieth day of ita existence from the 
time the egg was laid, it comes forth a perfect bee; 
very weak and feeble at first, and is usually roughly 
treated by the workers of a more advanced age. 
The lining or cocoon is left in the cell in which it 
was apua, causing the breeding cells to become 
emaller and the partitions thicker, aa often as they 
change their tenants, until finally, after several years, 
they become too small to rear brood in to advantage, 
when they should be changed. 

The drone passes three days in the egg, six and a 
half aa a worm, and comes forth a perfect insect 
about the twenty-fourth or twenty-fifth day from 
the time the egg is laid. 

The queen passes three days in the egg, and is five 
a wormj the workers then close her cell; she imme- 
diately begins to spin her cocoon, which occupies 
her twenty-four hours. On the tenth and eleventh 
days, and even sixteen hours of the twelfth, she 
remains in complete repose, as if exhausted by her 
labors; she then passes four days and one-third as 
a nymph. It is on the sixteenth day, therefore, that 
the perfect state of the queen is attained. 

I am indebted to Bevan for this description. My 
own experience corresponds very nearly with it, in 
this latitude ; but a very considerable difference ex- 
ists as to time between this and Sacramento, Cali- 
fornia, where I spent the last season, propagating 

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bees. There the average time for queens to mature 
from the egg is fourteen clays, two days less than the 
average hei'e; and about the same difference exists 
with the workers and drones. 


The quantity of eggs laid by a fully developed 
healthy queen, in a strong colony, with plenty of 
honey, is truly astonishing to those unacquainted 
with their habits ; the number is variously estimated 
by authora at from 30,000 to 100,000 during the 
season. This depends entirely upon the strength of 
the colony in the spring, the climate or temperature 
of the weather, the quantity of honey, and the mode 
of managing the colony. 

During the past season I worked a number of 
queens to their full capacity for producing eggs, in 
strong colonies, by frequently changing combs from 
which brood had just emerged in artificial swarms, 
where the queen liad not yet become fertile, for 
combs stocked with eggs and larva, giving them 
empty combs for full ones; stimulating them con- 
stantly by keeping thera well supplied with food, 
when honey abroad became seai-ee. I put two of 
these combs, being about twelve inches wide by 
fifteen or sixteen deep, into a strong colony, where 
the queen was very prolific; over two-thirds of the 
cells were empty when put in, and within four or 
five days they were all stocked with eggs, except a 
few that were stored with pollen. This was by no 
means a single oceuiTence, but was repeated again 

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and again, with about the same results. These two 
comba would make about 360 square inehea. Mr. 
Quiuby estimates fifty cells to the square inehj inclu- 
ding both sides of the comb; this would give about 
18,000 cells in all; deduct oue-third for honey, pol- 
len and a few cells unoccupied with brood, and we 
still have 12,000 cells to be HUed. A few of these 
around the edges would perhaps remain empty, but 
at least 10,000 eggs were laid during the four or five 
days, or about 2,000 per day. This, I find, is but 
little higher than Mr. Quinby's estimate, but not 
greater than they can fully attain to, under favorable 
eireumstanees, marvelous as it may seem. 


It is generally supposed that bees gather the was 
from the flowers which they visit daily in the fields ; 
in fact, before Huber's time, it was believed that wax 
was made from bee-bread, either as it was gathered 
from the flowers in a crude state, or in a prepared 
form, afler going through a digesting process in the 
stomach of the bee. Huber demonstrated by experi- 
ment, that the wax, of which all comb is built, is a 
secretion of the bee, a substance which a wise Creator 
has provided them with for the purpose of construct- 
ing proper receptacles to contain their stores of pro- 
visions, and suitable cradles for rearing their young 
iu. Bonner aaya: "I believe the wax to be an 

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WAX. 77 

cxeresceuee, exudation or production of the body of 
the bee; and that as the queen bee can lay eggs 
when she pleiises, if need requires, so the working 
bees can produce wax from the eubstanee of their 
own bodies." 

The truth of this can be easily demonstrated by 
any one who is curious to examine for himself, by 
putting a small swarai of bees into an observatory 
hive, destitute of combs; confino them in this, and 
give them them a liberal supply of strained honey, 
if you please, or a nice syrup made from refined 
sugar ; in the course of twenty-four hours comba will 
be commenced. If the weather is warm, and the 
Bwarra contains a quart or more of bees, liberally 
fed, in two or three days time they will construct 
several square inches of beautiful white comb; the 
color, however, ia varied a little by the kind of honey 
or syrup on which the bees are feed ; if very dark, 
the comb will be rather of a brownish cast ; if white, 
ov light colored honey or syrup, tiie wax produced 
will bo very white. This experiment may be tried 
again and again, by removing the swarm from this 
hive into an empty one ; feed them only with syrup 
or honey, without a particle of bee-bread, and confine 
them so tbat none are permitted to go abroad to pro- 
cure it. The result will be the same; wax will be 
produced and comb built. Huber tried this experi- 
ment ^vith the same swarm, by removing it thus 
seven times, with the Bame results. 

I have frequently seen the wax in veiy thin flakes 
or scales exuding from the rings or folds of the ab- 

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domeii Of belly of the worker ; this seems to lie wliere 
the wax pouch or laboratory is loeate<3 ; from tliia 
the scales are taken and immediately put in the ap- 
pi-opriate place iu the comb by the architect. The 
bees which elaborate or produce the wax conBamo an 
increased amount of food, and apparently remain in 
a state of repose for some hours afterward, before the 
wax IS prodaced. In tliis they somewhat resemble 
the silk worai, which, after consuming a large quan- 
tity of food, remains in a state of repose for a time, 
and then commences to spin its web or cocoon. In 
this ease the bee takes a certain portion of food into 
its stomach, from which it produces wax, and in the 
other, the silk worm takes a certain portion of food 
of a different kind, from which it produces silk. In 
neither case is any thing added to the body or phys- 
ical condition of tho insect, either as muscle or fat, 
as some authors describe it; but the insect seems to 
be simply a manufactory, receiving into it the raw 
material, and after passing tiirough the necessary 
8 it comes forth a perfect article of wax. It is 
L that from fifteen to twenty pounds of food are 
consumed to elaborate one pound of wax. I never 
experimented to ascertain the truth or falsity of this 
statement, but a very large amount is consumed. It 
requires about two and a half or three pounds of 
wax to fill an ordinary sized hive with comb. Bevan 
gives the following analysis of beeswax ; 

Catbon, 81.79 

Oxygen, 5.54 

Hydrogen, 12.07 

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Beeswax forma a verj e^'iisiderable article of com- 
merce iu various parts of the world. Large quantities 
are used in religious ceremonies, both in Pagan and 
Christian lands; especially by the Chinese in their 
idol woi'ship, as I am informed by my friend, Rev. 
Mr. Shuck, of Sacramento City, who waa long a 
missionary in China. It is said over eighty thousand 
pounds are exported annually from the island of Cuba 


The comi L ii \ 

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hexagonal cells, A honeycomb is certainly one of 
the moat profomid achievements of architecture; it 
has been the admiration of both sage and philosopher 
for centuries past, and has awakened specniation not 
only in the naturalist, but also in the mathematician. 
So regular and ao perfect is the strncture of the cells, 
that it satisfies every condition of a refined problem 
in geometry. 

Before the time of Huber, we have no account of 
any naturalist having seen the laying of the founda- 
tion or making the commencemciit of a comb, nor 
traced the several steps of its progress to completion. 
After many attempts, he at length succeeded in 
attaining the desired object, preventing the bees from 
forming their usual impeneti-abie cluster or curtain 
by suspending themselves from the top of the hive ; 
in short, he obliged them to build upward, and was 
thereby enabled, by means of a glass window, to 
watch every variation and progressive step in the 
foimation of a comb. 

Each comb is composed of two ranges of cells, 
backed against each other ; at first sight they present 
the appearance of having one common base, yet on 
careful examination we find that no cell is directly 
opposite another, but the base or partition between 
the double row of cells is so arranged as to form a 
pyramidal cavity at the bottom of each. The cells 
open into a space (or as Bevan calls it, a street), 
which is always found between the combs; the 
spaces are about three-eighths of an inch in width, 
being a convenient passage for the bees, and suflicient 

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WAX. 81 

to permit them to enter the cells readily ; openings 
are generally left through difterent parta of the eoniba 
to connect these spaces, forming cross roada, or near 
cuts, ffoin one comb to another, whereby much val- 
uable time is saved to the bees in passing from one 
side of the hive to the other. The cells, as I have 
already observed, are six-sided, forming a hexagon, 
the very best shape that conld be adopted by whicli 
all the space can be occupied and no interstices left; 
it is doubtless the only shape, except round, that 
would suit to rear young bees in, as either square or 
triangular would bo entirely unsuited for that pur- 
pose. These three, the hexagon, the triangle and 
the square, are the only possible shapes that would 
occupy all the given space. 

Here we have both economy of room and material ; 
there are no useless partitions in a honeycomb ; each 
of the six lateral panels of one cell forma one of the 
panels of the adjoining cell, and of the three rhombs 
which form the pyramidal base of a cell, each con- 
tributes one third toward the formation of the bases 
of three opposing cells, the bottom or centre of every 
cell resting against the point of union of three panels 
at the back of it. 


Economy of materials produces economy of labor 
(says Bevan), and in addition to these advantages, 
the cells are constructed in the strongest manner 
possible from the amount of materials used. The 
walls of the sides and bases of the cells are so 

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very thin when fii-et built aaid in their virgin purity, 
that four or five placed on each other would not be 
thicker than common writing paper ; each cell, taken 
separately, ia weak, but ia increased in strength by its 
connection mth other cells. The mouth or entrance 
of each cell is greatly strengthened and fortified by 
a border of wax, making the outer edge of the pai'- 
tition wall niore than double strength. This, indeed, 
seems quite necessary to prevent it from bursting or 
being injured by the struggles of the young bee, or 
from the ingress and egress of the workers in their 
varied avocations. This border is much thicker at 
the angles than elsewhere, which prevents the mouth 
of the cell from being regularly hexagonal, though 
the interior is perfectly so. 

Several combs are generally commenced and pro- 
gressing at the same time. First, one is founded and 
progresses until it is two or three cells deep, then 
another and still another is commenced on each side 
of the first, at the space of about one and a half 
inches from centre to centre, for worker cells ; it is a 
little more for a drone cell, as the comb is thicker. 
These combs are generally parallel with each other ; 
occasionally, however, they run in different directions. 

I would remark, in this connection, that to secure 
the building of straight and regular combs in mova- 
ble frames, it is absolutely necessary to so adjust them 
as to have the exact spaces from centre to centre of 
the comb guides ; the least deviation from this is 
almost certain to cause the bees to run the combs 
across from to frame, thus enabling them to 

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eednfe tiieir desired spaces, but m thoPoiIghly con- 
necting them as to render it impossible to remove 
any one frame, which entirely defeats the object of 
the fmrne, and renders it useless. This has caused 
taore objections to their Use than all other reasons 
combined, but may easily be remedied, by so adjust- 
ing the frames as to give the exact space which they 
require ; and it is necessary to do this by measure- 
ment, and not by guess work, as has usually been done. 

The first comb begun is always kept in advance of 
the others, and is the first completed ; the one on 
each side finished next, and so on, giving the mass 
or bunch of comb an oval or oblong appeai-anee (be- 
fore any has reached the bottom), very much the 
shape of a swaiin when clustered in a bunch. 

The cells for drones are larger and more substan- 
tial than those for worker bees, constituting t^vo sizes 
of comb in each hive. " The drone cells," says Se- 
van, " are three and one-third lines in diameter, and 
those of the worker cells two and three-fifth lines, 
(the line is the twelfth part of an inch}; these, says 
Reaumur, are the invariable diameters of all the cells 
that ever were or ever will he made." I'rom this 
uniform, unvarying diameter of the brood cells when 
completed, their use has been suggested as a univer- 
sal standard of measurement, which would be un- 
derstood in all countries to the end of time- There 
are particular circumstances, however, which induce 
a departure from this exactness ; for instance, when 
bees have begun a comb with worker cells, and after- 
ward wish, to change it to drone celis, as they occa- 

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84 BBSS AND BGE-KBlitlNli. 

Sionally do. This is done by intei-posing from one 
to three ccilrsea of cella, which may very appropri' 
ately be called transition cells, the bottoms of which 
are composed of two rhombs and two hexagons, in- 
stead of three rhombs ; the rhombs and hexagons 
gradually varying in form and relative proportion, 
till the requisite size, namely^ that of the cells wliich 
they are approaching, has been attained. The same 
rule is observed when returning to small eella ; every 
apparent regularity is therefore determined by a 
sufScient motive, and forms no impeachment of the 
sagacity of the bee. These deviations from the usual 
regularity which is observed, should serve to increase 
onr admiration of the architectural powers possessed 
by the bee. 

Toward the latter part of the season, when honey 
is very abundant, and indeed earlier in the season, 
in time of white clover, when there are surplus honey 
boxes placed on top of the hive, or when there 
is room yet unoccnpied inside of the hive, par- 
ticularly next the sides, they build what is called 
store combs, in which honey alone is stored; and 
when honey is abundant and the weather warm, 
these cells are built to a great length, making the 
combs very thick and irregular. Still, however, their 
diameter, with the exception of transition cells, is 
uniformly that of drone or worker cells; but the 
texture of their walls is thinner, and they have 
more dip or upward inclination, which, doubtless, is 
for the purpose of preventing the honey from run- 
ning out, which it is likely to do when it is being 

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WAX. 85 

gathered and stored very rapidly; no time elapsing 
for the water to evaporate, the honey is consequently 
thin. "When the cells are filled and the water has 
had time to evaporate, leaving the honey of a proper 
consistency, they are capped over with Waxen lids, 
which are formed by first constructing a ring of wax 
within the verge of the cell, to which another and 
another ring is added, until the aperture is finally 
closed with a lid composed of concentric circles. 
This operation may verj' easily and readily he oh- 
eorvod in all its stages, from the time they commence 
until the cell 13 closed. Caps of honey cells are con- 
cave, whilst young brood cells, when capped, are 

I cannot leave this part of my subject without 
again professing my px'ofocnd admiration for the 
achitectural instincts of the honey bee ; and am una- 
ble better to express it, than by quoting Mr. Quinby's 
remarks upon this point. He says : " The exact and 
uniform size of their cells is perhaps as great a mys- 
tery as anything pertaining to them ; yet, we find 
the second wonder before we are done with the first. 
In comb building, they have no square or compass 
as a guide; no master mechanic takes the lead, 
measuring and marking for the workmen ; each in- 
dividual among them is a finished mechanic '. 'No 
time is lost as an apprentice, no service given in re- 
turn for instruction ! Each is accomplished from 
birth ! All are ahke ; what one begins, a dozen may 
help to finish ! A specimen of their work shows itself 
to be from the hands of master workmen, and may be 

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taken as a model of perfection ! He who arranged 
the universe, was tlieir instructor. Yes, a profound 
geometrician planned the first cell, and knowing 
■what would be their wants, implanted in the seiiso- 
rium of the first bee all things pertaining to their 
welfare ; the impress then given, is yet retained un- 
impaired !" 

How little does the epicure heed, when feasting 
on the fruits of their industry, that each morsel tasted 
must destroy the most perfect specimens of work- 
manship; tiiat in a moment he can demolish what 
it has taken hours, yea, days and perhaps weeks of 
assiduous toil for the bees to accomplish. 


Pollen, in common parlance, has heen very gen- 
erally called bee-bread; this is what almost every 
person who has seen beca working on a fine day, in 
summer, has observed them cariying into the hive, in 
the shape of little pellets, on the hindmost pair of legs. 
These yellow pellets have been, and are yet, looked 
upon as being wax, to build combs with. Very few 
eai-eless observers, perhaps, ever noticed that just as 
many of these little loads are carried into a hive that is 
already full of combs as into one in which a swarm has 
been recently put, and in which combs are being rap- 
idly built. If these pellet* were examined, and their 

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texture compared witli wax, it would suffice to eon- 
vinee the most skeptical that not even a trace of 
similarity exists between the two. 

Pollen, or farina, in the language of botaniata, are 
terms applied to the powdery particles discharged by 
the anthers of flowers. The color, as well as the 
structure of pollen, varies in difl'erent plants. Its use 
in fecundating the germs of flowers is well known, 
and is pretty well understood by naturalists and bot- 
anists. The honey bee renders very essential aid in 
accomplishing this purpose, by passing from flower 
to flower, never visiting any but one variety of 
flowers at a time, thus disseminating this fructifying 
substance amongst the flo\vers in a manner ecarcely 
possible to be attained in any other way. 

Huber was probably the first to demonstrate that 
the principal purpose for which bees collect pollen, is 
to feed and nourish the embryo bees ; which accords 
well with what we find in the animal kingdom, where 
the food of the young is quite different from that 
consumed by adults. Dr. Hunter made a careful 
dissection and examination of the stomachs of young 
bees when in a maggot state, and found farina, or 
pollen, in all, but not a particle of honey in any of 
them. Iluber believes the pollen undergoes a peeu- 
liai' elaboration in the stomachs of the nursing bees, 
to prepare it properly for the nourishment of the 

Huber abut up a swarm of bees mth some young 
brood, but without any pollen at all, supplying them 
liberally with honey; they very soon manifested un- 

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easiness and rage at their imprisonment. Fearing 
the consequence of this tumult being prolonged, he 
allowed them to fly out in the evening, when too 
late to collect any pollen. At the end of five days 
from the time the experiment was first instituted, 
the hive was examined, when it was found that the 
larva or young beee had all perished; the jelly or 
food -which had sun'oundod them on the first intro- 
duction to the hive, was all removed or consumed. 
The same hees were then supplied with fresh brood, 
together with some comb containing pollen ; very 
different, indeed, was their behavior with this outfit ; 
they eagerly seized the pollen and conveyed it to the 
young, order was restored in the colony, and pros- 
perity and happiness again reigned. 

I have ti'ied experiments very similar to those just 
related (with results that accoi'd exactly with Huber's), 
until pretty well satisfied, indeed I am quite certain, 
that mature bees can live and elaborate wax without 
any pollen ; and I feel equally certain that not a 
single young bee can be raised from the egg with- 
out it. 

The little halls or pellets are invariably of the same 
color of the authors dust of the flower from which 
tliey are gathered, yellow, pale green, or orange, 
being the most prevalent. In California there are 
flowers as blue as indigo, from which it is gathered ; 
in fact, the gi'eatest assortment of colors conceivable 
may there be seen, at certain seasons of the year, in 
a sheet of comb that is well stored with pollen. It 
is a Uttlo curious, and yet a fact, that bees will cease 

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to gather poileu w!ioii tho lioiicy fails; tor instance, 
toward noon the honey is mostly ail gathered or 
evaporated for that day, and but little more can be 
procured; after that time they will also cease to 
gather pollen, although it might be obtained in great 
quantities. When this occurs, put out plenty of honey 
or feed, (if they know the way, having been fed) ; 
in less than an hour's time they will be vigorously 
carrying in pollen, as well as tlie honey or feed. I 
tried this very frequently in Califbrnia, where we 
fed promiscuously and largely. In the afternoon 
when the honey would get scarce, I put out a few 
gallons of syn:p, when the effect was truly aston- 
ishing; all were on the qui vive in a few minutes, 
carrying in pollen as well as the feed, and ranging 
the fields, examining carefully every flower, to see if 
any honey had previously escaped their observation. 

Langstroth says that rye flour, if fed in the spring 
of the year, will serve as a substitute for pollen, I 
have not tested this sufficiently to say whether it will 
or will not be of any practical advantage ; at present, 
I attach but little value to it. It may be of some im- 
portance in localities where flowers producing pollen 
are rare, or for late swarms, that come off after 
pollen gets scarce, and whose supplies are conse- 
quently limited ; but all strong, vigorous stocks, in 
any locality that I am conversant with, will lay in a 
supply of pollen just in proportion to the quantity of 
honey gathered. 

To feed bees liberally with honey or syrup during a 
seartiity of honey, aiul to pursue this course through- 

ly GoOgIc 


out the entire season, if in movable frames, take 
out and store away some of the combs when there 
are no young bees in them, and I believe the qnaa- 
tity of pollen can be vastly increased, perhaps doubled, 
The quantity of flowers that yield pollen is much 
greater than those producing honey, and all flowers 
that produce honey yield more or lesa pollen; but 
there are many that produce pollen, but no lioney. 


"When the bee arrives in the hive with her freight 
of pollen, she seeks a suitable cell ; she then fixes 
her two middle and two hind legs, which she thrusts 
into the mouth of the cell ; she now curves her body 
downward and seizes the little pellets with her two 
forelegs, presses or rubs them off into the mouth of 
the cell, and pushes them inward a little. When she 
is thus freed from her load, she is ready again to de- 
part for another, leaving the one just deposited ap- 
parently to the care of other bees. Presently a bee 
comes along, it peeps into the cell and then proceeds 
to pack the pollen away, which it does apparently 
with its head, by first pushing it to the bottom of the 
cell; and moistening it a little with honey or water, 
presses it firmly to its proper place. In this way 
they fill the cells about two-thii-ds their capacity, 
frequently filling it out with honey, and sometimes 
seal it over. It is a singular fact, that hees store 
pollen in worker cells only ; none is ever found in 
drone cells. This discovery my friend, Mr. Quin- 
by, claims to have made. He says: "Here is one 

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HONEY. 9t 

oircuraatance 1 do uot remember to have seeii 
mentioned, and that ia, bee-bread is generally packe<:l 
exclusively in worker cells ; I would aay always, but 
I find my bees doing things so differently from some 

But I find an older claim made to this discovery 
by Bevan, who says (page 126): "The bees store 
pollen ill worker cells only. I am not aware of this 
fact ever having been publicly stated before ; I am 
indebted for a knowledge of it to the attentive obser- 
vation of Mr. Humphrey, This discrimination of 
the bee may arise from an instinctive knowledge that 
pollen may be best preserved when stored in small 
quantities." This peculiarity has been observed by 
many apiarians ; I noticed it before reading either trf 
the above works. 


HoRBY is a well known production of flowers, gen- 
erated in the great laboratory of nature, A sweet 
that has been renowned from the earliest period of 
history, it has been used as a figure emblematic of a 
fertile and fruitful land, "a land flowing with milk and 
honey," What a beautiful figure ! how appropriate ! 

Pollen, or bee-bread, is used only by the bee, but 
is of no value to the bee-keeper for any other pur- 
pose; whilst honey is desirable food for both man 
and bee, a great luxury to the former and an indis- 
pensable article to the latter. 

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Iloiiey, says Bevaii, ia the iiectai'ies of flowers, 
which in fine weather ia continually tbrming or 
secreting from certain vesielee or glands, situated 
near the base of every petal, from whence it is collect- 
ed by the busy buzzing honey bee. They consume 
a portion whilst gathering it, as indeed they are con- 
tinually doing ; but the greater part gathered during 
the honey harvest ia carried home in their honey aacs, 
and regurgitated or emptied into the cells, for the 
use of the community during a scarcity of honey 
in summer and for their winter stores; and so abun- 
dant are these collections of honey in favorable sea- 
sons, as to afford to the careful apiarian a very liberal 
profit, sufficient to compensate him for bis invest- 
ment. The amount, however, is varied very much 
by different localities and the mode of management. 
In some situations twice the amount of honey is pro- 
duced during the season that there is in others ; in 
such places there ia a fair succession of honey-pro- 
ducing flowers from early spring till late in the fall, 
which induces and enables bees to increase in swarms 
and store more surplus honey, nothing occurring to 
discourage them to go forward breeding rapidly and 
constantly accumulating honey. In such localities 
bees will live and thrive much better, with but indif- 
ferent or careless attention, than they would where 
honey is more precarious, or where it is not ao evenly 
distributed through the seaaon. In others there ia a 
shoi't seaaon of honey early in the spring, from fruit 
trees, maple trees, &e. ; this lasts but a short time; 
then an interval occurs of from two to four weeks, 

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HONEY. 98 

until the clover blooms, during which time little or 
no honey is obtained, either to store or for the cur- 
rent use of the colony ; and another interval occurs 
between the clover and buckwheat. Unless bees are 
fed during these intervals, as is directed on another 
page, the colony will not be in a fit condition to store 
large q^uantitios of honey when it becomes plenty, 
and consequently the amount of surplus honey ob- 
tained is generally much less than it might otherwise 
be. This will be more fully diaeuased in another 


Honey is varied by the different kinds of flowers 
from which it is gathered, each having some property 
peculiar to itself. That gathered from the white 
clover, in this region, is much the whitest and most 
beautiful, sometimes almost rivaling the driven snow ; 
at other times it is not so fair, much depending upon 
the season. Its flavor is excellent, and it is a general 
favorite in the market. The season for clover honey 
is from about the fifth of June until about the middle 
of July, varied by the season and latitude. The 
yield from clover is usually pretty large where it 

Buckwheat is largely cultivated as a field crop in 
many places ; it yields a very large quantity of honey, 
and is the second in importance as a honey harvest. 
In most, if not all the Middle States, buckwheat 
honey is of a rich coppeiy color, having a reddish 
east, and generally thick and fine, possessing a pecu- 
liarity of taste and smell not to be found elsewhere. 

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that rentiers it an especial favorite with many epi- 
cures ; but will not sell qaite so readily in market aa 
the clover honey, to those unacquainted with it, 
owing to its color. 

Large quantities of honey are also gathered from 
the tulip or poplar, where it abounds, Tliia is a very 
white and good honey. The Hnden, or bass-wood, 
is also very productive in honey, which is of a light 
yellow, inclining to straw color. Many other kinds 
of flowers produce honey, but not generally in such 
quantities aa to enter largely into market in this 

In California, we find the cephalanthus, or button 
bush, yields the largest quantity and finest quality 
of honey (particularly in the Sacramento and Tulare 
Valleys), which is very excellent, thick and of the 
finest flavor ; in color it is very slightly reddish, or 
between that and straw color. This variety of 
honey commands the highest price in the California 
markets. Honey gathered from the common black 
mustard is the next in importance, both in quantity 
and quality. la some parts of California, this is the 
main dependence for market honey. This is ti'ue of 
the San Jose and some other valleys, where the 
cephalanthus is scarce. Honey gathered from mus- 
tard is of a light color, between white and sti-aw 
color; its flavor is not so agreeable as some other 
varieties, being slightly pungent, yet it is a very fair 
marketable article, of rather light texture. 

It is said that honey gathered from poisonous 
plants or trees, which abound in some places, has a 

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deleterious efleet when eaten, causing siektiet 
these kinds of flowei^ are very rare. 

Besides the honey and pollen which are gathered 
hy bees, they also collect a resinous eubstance that is 
very tenacious and semi-transparent, giving out a 
balsamic odor, somewhat resembling that of storax. 
It is of a reddish brown color, and when broken its 
color resembles wax. Dissolved in spirits of wine or 
oil of turpentine, it imparts as varnish a golden color 
to silver, tin and other bright metals. Being sup- 
posed to possess medicinal properties, it was formerly 
kept in the shop of the apothecary. It consists of 
one part of wax and four of pure resiu. — {Bevan.) 

Propolis is used to stop crevices that may exist in 
and about the hives, fasten them to the lloore, to 
make the honey boxes secure, and also to fasten the 
frames ; it is sometimes used as side attachments to 
strengthen the comb fastenings, to cover any uneven 
or objectionable places in the hive, or hide any insect 
that may chance to find a lodgment in the hive, 
which the bees are unable to remove. 

Propolis is gathered from resinous buds of trees and 
shrubs, and from some species of weeds. I have seen 
the bees working on the balm of Gilead trees. But 
a few could be observed at one time, and the trees 
were too high to see exactly what they were doing ; 
but no doubt they were gathering propolis from the 
buds, as they seemed to be the only points visited ; 
nothing else existed on or about the trees at the time, 

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06 Bl^BS ASb KKB-KEEPlNa, 

from which anything could be gathered. Whilst in 
California, last sumnier, I discovered the bees work- 
ing on a speclca of wild wormwood, which growa 
very abundant along the Sacramento rivei-, attaining 
the height of five or six feet. About the foot stalka 
of the young leaves, and even on tlie expanding 
leaves and near the joints of the stem or stalk, there 
is a covering of an adhesive quality, very much re- 
sembling the propolis found about hives elsewhere, 
but of a very crude, rough appearance, and just as 
bitter as the wormwood itself — in feet, it seems to be 
the very essence of it; this substance I have seen the 
bees gathering. It is used very abundantly in and 
about the hive during summer, and is about the only 
kind of propolis that I observed the bees using in our 
apiary. It retains its green color just as when first 
gathered, that of a year old was not changed in this 
particular ; it also retained the peculiar smell of the 
wormwood, and its bitter taste ; there is no mistak- 
ing its origin. 

From these and other observaticns I have made, I 
conclude that propolis is a vegetable substance, col- 
lected but not generated hj the bees ; and that it 
partakes very much of the nature of the tree, shrub 
or weed from which it ia gathered. I have failed to 
discover a trace of beeswax in it, as Bevan and some 
others intimate. I apprehend they have been misled 
by particles of wax or comba being covered or sur- 
rounded by propolis, and consequently in analyaing 
it, it was supposed to have been a part of the origin^ 

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noNBt. 07 

I have failed to discover our bees attaching their 
combs to the top aud sides of the hives, as others 
have described; ours have stuck the wax of which 
the combs were built directly on the top and sides. 
I think I am s^e in saying, that combs are invariably 
stuck to the top and sides with wax, and not propolis ; 
and as a general thing, if combs get broken a little, 
they are again united with wax. Sonietimea, how- 
ever, I have seen propolis used at the sides or top 
when the comb would bo loosened a little, and even 
when no sign of this existed. I have also seen the 
fastenings strengthened by layers of pollen, laid on 
nicely where the comb and top or side of the hive 
met, seemingly as a pi-ecaution to prevent the weight 
of the comb or dampnasa of the wood from breaking 
it loose- 
Propolis gathered from some sources becomes 
hard, and has something of the appeai-ance of a wax 
made by adding a little tallow to rosin (of comraoree), 
say on G eighth part; this composition when warm, 
say blood heat, becomes pliable like shoemaker's 
wax, but when cold is brittle, and will break and fly 
like rosin itself. In fact, propolis is so diversified in 
quality and texture, that it requires a considerable 
stretch of the imagination to suppose it to be a pro- 
duction of the bee, in the same sense that the wax is 
produced, Quinby seems to hold the opinion of its 
being a vegetable production. Several old writers 
suppose the bees use a portion of propolis diluted, 
fonning a kind of varnish or sizing, and with this 
they varnish the cells of the combs, Langstroth fol- 

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98 b£es anb bee-Keepisg. 

lows suit {supposing, doubtleBSi that they are cof- 
rect), and indorses the statement; hot I find him led 
astray so often by the assertions of others, that I dis- 
trust his stfttements, without testing them for myself. 
My views and experience in this matter, are ex- 
actly parallel with Mr. Quinby's; he says: "I have 
made examinations when comb was first made, when 
it contained eggs, and when it contained larva, and 
have never been able to find anything other than 
pure wax composing it. After a young bee has ma- 
tured in a cell, the coating or cocoon that it leaves, 
somewhat resembles it, and may have given nse to 
the supposition/' 



The most important consider- 
ation in selecting a site for a 
ge apiary, is to secure a place 
where the suri'ounding neighbor- 
hood yields a bountiful supply of 
' honey through the greater part 
of the season; all other things 
aio ct nimoi importance, especially where it ia in- 
tended to keep large quantities. A few hives may 
be kept to advantage any place where the habitation 
of man can be found, A vast difference exists in 
the quantity of honey produced in different locali- 
ties ; bees may be starving in one place, whilst a few 
miles off there is great abundance. 

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In locating an apiaiy, it is important to seloot a eitu- 
atiou near the dwelling or place of business, that the 
bees may be easily seen, and with but little trouble, or 
the swarms b3 heard when they rise, else they arc 
liable to be neglected, and permitted to fly oft' to the 
woods, if alion-ed to swarm in the natural way. It 
is very important that they be well sheltered from 
winds and storms, which are a serious disadvantage 
in the spring and summer, as well as in winter. 
"When returning home heavy laden, and the air is 
cold and chilly, the hees frequently drop down near 
their hives, unable to reacl^ it unless sheltered from 
the wind. When no natural hreak-wind exists, I 
would advise the eonstruetion of a high, broad fence, 
made tight and close, so as to effectually screen them 
from high winds; it will repay the cost of construc- 
tion, in the economizing of animal heat in winter, and 
in the number of bees saved in spring and summer. 
The greatest and most serious loss, however, is in 
the spring time, when cool winds and dark clouds 
rapidly succeed warm sunny mornings; the return- 
ing bees get chilled, and drop down in great num- 
bers, when they make a descent to their hives, but 
if protected from winds, the majority will be able to 
reach home in safety. At this season, it is of the 
utmost importance that every bee should be saved, as 
one in the spring is worth ten in midsummer. 

If the apiary is properly protected from driving 
winds, the hive may be set to face any desired direc- 
tion, tliough I would prefer them fronting the south, 
varied to the east or west, as would best suit the 

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locality; it should be at aomo distance from ponda 
or lakes, or large streams of water, as heavy chilling 
winds fatigue the bees on their return from the fields, 
and if they once flight on the water they will never 
rise again, whilst if they should settle on any other 
substance they atill have an opportunity to reach 
home. If the water is a few rods distant, this diffi- 
culty will be obviated to some extent. 

If a new position should be selected near the old 
one, and it is decided to remove the bees thereto, it 
should be done as early in the spring as possible, be- 
fore they have marked their location, and got their 
coarse well established; otherwise many will return 
to the old stand and be lost. 


If bees are moved to the distance of a mile or 
more, it can be done safely at any time most con- 
venient. I prefer moving bees in the spring, soon 
after they have begun to work, and hefore they be- 
come very strong; at this time they have but little 
honey, and the combs are leas liable to break down. 
Bees should never be moved but a few rods, or even 
a few feet, after they have marked their location in 
the sprJEg. "When they flret go forth, or when they 
have been removed from a distance and set down in 
a new place, they will fly out, but instead of going 
directly away from the hive they will keep their 
heads toward it, until they rise above, and first de- 
scribe small and then larger circles, until every ob- 
ject near at hand is noted; after this they pass out 

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in atmight lines ; hence, if they are moved hut a 
short distance, they pass out without any precau- 
tion, and the surrounding ohjects being familiar, they 
almost invariahly return to the old stand. If they 
find their hive gone, they will fly ahout in a disconso- 
late manner, until they perish, unless attracted by the 
sound of some other stock of bees close at hand. 


I have used several kinds of stands, at different 
times, and at various heights from the ground. In 
California I used stands made as follows : procure a 
board twenty inches long and from sixteen to eight- 
een inches wide; get four pieces of scantling, one 
foot long and two inches square; cut two pieces in 
lengths to correspond with the width of the board, 
two inches wide, one inch thick ; nail each of these 
strips on two of the pieces of scantling' intended for 
the feet of the stool, so that the edge or side of the 
strip is flush with the top, the board resting on it 
and at the same time on the tops of the scantling; 
nail it firmly. The end of the board should bo flush 
with the side of this cross strip, which brings a leg 
directly under each corner of the board, and makes 
a very nice stool. The ground should be made level, 
so that the hives will stand plumb. This kind of 
stool will do very well here ; the only objection would 
be where bees are wintered in them, the frost would 
heave them up ; and when a thaw occurs, the stool 
will settle down farther on one side than on the 
other, which might cause the hive to tip over; this 

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iTiiiy ho obviated, by puttiug straw around and iii 
I'rout of theui, to prevent the ground from thawing 
on the front or south side of the row. It also serves 
a good purpose for the bees to alight on when they 
lirst fly out in the spring, when the air is cool sind 
chilly. The snow molts off the straw the flrat few 
hours that aro warni, and it is the wannest substance 
for the weak and fooblc bei's to alight on and re- 
cover thernBolveB. 


Set posts of some durable kind of wood into the 
ground, or iu stone, ao that the frost will not heave 
them up; let them project a few inches above the 
gi'ound ; on these lay scantling or small timbers of 
any convenient size. There should be two lines of 
scantling parallel to each other, and about fourteeu 
inches from centre to centre. Out bottom boards 
twenty inches long and fifteen inches or upward wide, 
nail them slightly across and on top of these timbers, 
observing the proper spaces between the hives. This 
stand may be made higher or lower, at the option of 
the apiarian, and is a very convenient arrangement. 

Take joiata, two inches by six, about fifteen inches 
long, two pieces for a stand ; out a board about 
twenty inches long and fifteen inches or more in 
width, nail this on the edge of the joists, one of them 
aupporting each end. This makes a very cheap and 
convenient stand. 

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i have kuowi] bees to do well at all heights, from 
three inches to one hundred feet from the earth ; in 
fact, from the thickness of an inch board laid flat on 
the ground, to that of a hollow limb of a tree high np 
in the air; but these are the extremes. I find, from 
experience, that there is less difference in the distance 
they are from the earth than many suppose, and less 
than what arises from other circumstances. If the 
apiary is protected from winds, and there is consid- 
erable surface of board immediately in front of the 
hive, on which they can readily alight when they 
return heavy laden, and a piece of board set up in 
front, so tliat any stragglera may crawl up, it matters 
but little whether they are six inches or two feet 
from the ground. I prefer, for convenience, stands 
from nine to twelve inches high, which is about the 
proper distance to protect them from grass, weeds, 
spider webs, and things of that kind, and also to keep 
them clean and tidy, and free from the splashing of 
heavy rains or dampness of any kind. Mr. Quinby 
Qses and recommends stands but two inches from the 
ground. I have tried that height, and have recently 
visited Mr. Quinhy's apiary, but am not favorably 
impressed with stands so near the ground, for all 
purposes, yet he succeeds very well with them. 

This may be a matter of choice or convenience 
with each individual, with the foregoing requisites. 


I have kept them at various distances apart, from 

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a very few inches up to aeveral feet. The only time 
any serious difficulty oecui's is early in the spring, 
ivhen they first fly out, and have not yet taidy marked 
their locality; and before their nationality is fairly 
established, they are liable to get into the wrong 
hive. Some hives will be found destitute, if too close. 
Then again, when young queens go abroad to meet 
the drones, they are likely to get into the wrong hive 
on their return, and thus be lost. This may be 
averted by putting a distinctive mark on the front of 
each hive that is known to be maturing a young 
queen, or by having the front of each hive to differ 
from the adjoining ones; in fact, it is better to do 
tliis even when they are some distance apart, but in 
a straight row. I would advise all who can do so, 
to keep their hives from one and a half to three feet 

I veiy much doubt tbo utility of bee houses, as 
they are generally constructed. I have seen one or 
two in which bees seemed to do pretty well, but am 
well satisfied they will not pay, for general use. I 
agree exactly with Mr. Quinby on this point, who 
says they are objectionable on account of preventing 
a free circulation of air. It is difficult to construct 
them so that tbo sun may strike the hives both in 
the morning and afternoon, which, in spring time, is 
very essentia!. If they front south, the middle of 
the day is the only time when the sun can roach all 
the hives at once; this is just when they need it 
least, and in hot weather is sometimes injurious, by 

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melting the combs. It ia better to dispense with 
them entirely, simply eonstraeting sheds to keep the 
sun off the hives in very hot weather, and protect 
them from rain. 


Since the invention and introduction of our im- 
proved movable comb hives, the door of which opens 
in the rear, and the bed or top is hinged to open or 
turn up from rear to front, requiring a space of about 
sixteen inches in the clear above the lid of the hi\'e 
when shut down, we have constructed and used 
sheds made in the following manner, which we find 
to do well and give general satisfaction. Get posts 
of some durable kind of wood, ahoiit eight feet loug, 
set them two and a half or three feet deep in the 
ground, very solid, about seven feet apart, and in line 
with the front of the row of hives ; tack a strip of 
board, about four feet long, on the post at each end 
of the row; giving them the piteh yoii wish the roof 
to have sloping toward the front of the hives. Ad- 
just a third strip to range exactly with the other two ; 
take still another strip and a scribe awl, and when 
you get the proper range and slope of the others, 
mark the tops of the posts, and saw them off. Cut 
pieces of scantling, two by four {other sizes will do), 
about four feet long, or the width you wish the TOof 
to be ; spike one of these pieces on the top of each 
post, dividing it so as to project over the hives to 
protect them from the sun and rain. Take pieces 
two inches wide by one thick, nail them on the side 

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of the post, about two feet from the top, and up to 
the end of the piece epiked on top of post, forming a 
brace ; wide hoards may be used lengthwise, one edge 
overlapping the one below it, if desired, or joists may 
be put on and short boards, or even shingles, used to 
cover with. In this way the whole shed stands on 
one row of posts, which saves both labor, material 
and space. This kind of shed suits as well for any 
style of hive in use, as it does for my own. 


Take any sound boards that may be convenient, 
those one-half inch thick are as good as any ; cut two 
pieces, twenty inches long and fourteen inches wide ; 
take two pieces, about seventeen inches long and four 
or five inches wide, and slope them each way from the 
centre; on these nail the boards like the roof of a 
house, which may be set on and talsen off at pleasure, 
or simply nail cleats on the underside of the boards, 
one being wider than the other, so as to give a proper 
slope, set this on the top, and it will do very well- 
It is necessary, in all cases, to have a cuiTent of air 
between the top of the hive and the i-oof, to prevent 
the hot sun in summer from melting the combs. 


tt is now pretty well understood, at least by the in- 
..iiligent portion of the community, tliat bees may be 
bought and sold, and trafficked with, just as any otlier 
kind of stock, without materially affecting the hick 
(as it was formerly called). Luck depends entirely 

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fHE AtlARY. lot 

on the knowledge of the apiarian, and the mode of 
managing the bees. I never lost a hive of bees, but 
it could be traced to a natural cause, which waa 
generally neglect or carelessness, that could have 
been easily obviated with proper care and attention ; 
hence I have long since been satisfied that there is 
no danger of selling luck or of buying luck in bees, 
only as it is bought in acquiring knowledge of their 
habits and requirements, and practicing it carefully. 
Any one in possession of this knowledge may com- 
mence bee-keeping with the same aaaurauce of suc- 
cess that he would have to enter upon any other 


In buying bees, as in most other kinds of stock, 
get the very best and strongest you can, even if you 
have to pay a higher price for them ; they generally 
prove to be cheapest in the end. Select such as havo 
straight, nice combs, with as little drone-comb as 
possible ; this you can tell by the cells being larger 
than the worker cells. If in the fall, the hive should 
be well stored with honey, the combs pretty well 
filled, and covered with bees, and the spaces between 
the combs clustered full down to bottom. If in the 
spring, see that they have a supply of honey sufficient 
to last them until more can be obtained in the fields 
abroad, and that there is a strong colony of bees. 
At this season they will not be so strong, of course, 
as in the fall; however, select those having the most 
bees and greatest quantity of honey. Stocks of 
three, four, five, or even more years old, if the combs 

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are nice and healthy, strong and vigorous, are as 
profitable aa any. There are siljout as many colonies 
lost when bat one year old, as at any other a^e, up 
to ten or twelve. 


In selecting bees to begin with, the size and kind of 
hives is of the utmost importance. I'irst, in regard 
to Bi^e. Mr. Quinby says, that 2,000 cubic inches ia 
the proper aize for this latitude, but I would prefer a 
little larger, say about 2,200 cubic inches. When 
the improved movahle comb hives arc used, the 
frames and spaees occupy 400 cubic inches, hence 
they should contain about 2,000 cubic inchea inside 
the case. These sizes should be exclusive of the 
chamber or cap on top for spare honey receptacles. 
In southern latitudes, hives of a less size would do, 
perhaps, equally as well, the winters being shorter 
and honey more abundant. 

The kind of hive is also important in buying bees, 
if the object ia to work them on the improved plan, 
having full control of them. It is quite important 
to get those, if possible, that are ali'eady in such 
hives, as it saves the trouble and expense of buying 
new hives and transferring them. 

But if the object is to let thera take their chances 
on the old plan, then buy good, sound, well made 
box hives ; in any case, they should be well made and 
well painted, to keep them from swelling and shrink- 
ing by the changes of the weather, which looaens the 
comba from the sides and top where they are attached. 

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They are uneightly, and much less durable, than if 
planed and neatly painted. 


"When boos are removed but a few miles, and re- 
quire to be confined but for a day or two, emoke 
thera a little. Invert the hive, take a square piece of 
coarse brown slieeting muslin, spread it over the 
mouth of the hive, if an open one; lay strips of 
abingles on the cloth, and tack it firmly to the hive; 
these strips will keep the bees from forcing out under 
the edges of the cloth, and require less tacka. For 
very strong colonies in warm weather, there ehould 
be openings on each side of the hive, of about three 
or four square inches, covered with wire cloth, to 
admit air and prevent the bees from escaping while 
in ti'ausitu. 

The improved movable comb hive (having a sta- 
tionary bottom boaiMl and adjustable slide in ffont, 
which can be closed instantly, being also provided 
with proper ventilation in the rear from the graduated 
air chamber below, admitting the air freely but ex- 
cluding the light, which prevents them from inces- 
santly fighting to get out), is a very convenient hive 
in which to transport bees safely in any direction. 
Great care should invariably be taken to ventilate 

Having them prepared for loading, be careful to 

ace the direction of the comba in each hive, and mark 

it with chalk or pencil, if they are to be hauled in a 

wagon of any kind (one with elliptic springs is beat 


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when it can be had) ; set the hive so that the edges of 
the combs will be at the sides of tho wagon, aa the 
stroke or jolt of tho wheel, in passing over a stone 
or other obstruction, is from the centre to the aides ; 
the combs being edgewise to it, are much less liable 
to break thau if the broad side was in that direction. 

"When hauling bees on a sled in winter, reverse 
them ; set the hives so that the combs stand forward 
and aft, as the stroke of a sled, when it sti-ikes any 
obstruction, is from front to rear. The object is to 
always have tlie edge of the comb toward the stroke 
or jolt. 

Hives should always he packed, either in wagons 
or sleds, in sach a manner as to be held firmly in 
their place, and not be permitted to strike against 
each other, nor against the sides of the box in which 
they are packed. With careful driving, bees may 
be safely hauled for many milea over very rough 
roads, even in a wagon without springs, with the 
above precaution, in mild weather. 


Moderate or mild weather is the best time for 
moving bees, yet, when necessary, they can be moved 
aafoly at any time. In very hot weather the comhs 
are tender, and the bees, when confined in the hive, 
greatly increase the heat, and consequently there is 
great danger of the combs breaking down and 
drowning or crushing the bees. The beat and only 
safe plan to adopt, in very hot weather, is to give 
the bees access to an empty space. A hive made 

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witli a chamber for bouey boxes does very well, or 
when made with a cap ; fasteu it on tight, and leave 
the liolea open ; the bees will withdraw from the 
comb into any vacant space, whether above or below, 
or at the aide. They seem to suspect the danger of 
their combs melting and breaking down, 

I owe much of my success in shipping bees to 
California (through the hot latitudes of the Isthmus), 
to giving them a vacant chamber where they could 
withdraw from their combs when danger threatened 
them.' They should always be shaded from the sun, 
and have a free eii-cnlation of air around them. 

In extreme cold weather the combs are brittle; 
but the greatest difficulty is, the bees get excited, 
and filling their sacs with honey, they worry and fret 
to get at liberty until they become unhealtliy. If 
moved far, and should the cold continue for several 
days after they are lauded in their new home, so as 
to be unable to fly out, they become greatly distended 
with fseces, and perish. Wlien they can be put in a 
warm room until a change of weather occurs and 
then BOt them out, there is less danger in this direc- 
tion ; but in mild weather they can be opened out 
on their arrival, when they will fiy out, and void 
their iiith and clean out any offensive matter, when 
all is right again. 

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Much has been said and written on this subject; 
many humbuga have been gotten up (whether with 
honest intentions or not), and palmed off on bee- 
keepers, who, as a general thing, were profoundly 
ignorant of whut constituted a practical and at the 
same time a hive suited to the natural habits of their 
faithful little servants, and consequently they were 
easily imposed on. One patent bee hive has followed 
another in rapid succession, many of which have 
proved to be worthless, and some persons have lost 
in these speculations, yet notwithstanding all this, 
the great mass of the people have been benefited ; 
not by these losses, it is true ; but these enterprises, 
together with other things, have set the people to 
investigating the subject of bee-keeping, and to ac- 
quire a more correct knowledge of their nature and 
habits, and having learned something reliable in this 
direction, they are better able to appreciate their 
value and the profits that might be derived from 
them, if properly managed, and also to understand 
the requisites of a good hive. Years ago, the only 
method practiced of getting honey was by digging a 
pit, setting a brimstone match in this, over which a 
hive of devoted bees was placed, and the fumes of 
the burning match would soon kill the entire colony. 
But this barbarous practice, I am happy to say, has 

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HIVE8. 113 

very nigh diaappeared, and will ere long be number- 
ed amongst the things that were. 

We might here inquire, what has brought about 
this great and important change? The invention 
and introduction of surplus honey boxes, or small 
boxes {with glass arranged to view the contents,) to 
put on the top of the hive, either in a chamber hive 
or covered with a cap. In these boxes the bees would 
store the most beautiful honey, in nice shape for mar- 
ket. This was, perhaps, the leading feature in a 
majority of hives invented and introduced to the 
public for several years, though in various forms and 
combinations. But still there was a difficulty in 
managing bees properly, not being able to get full 
control over them ; having no fecilities for examin- 
ing the interior of the hive or of applying a remedy 
for any defect that might exist there, and no know- 
ledge of the mode practiced ceuturies before for divid- 
ing and increasing them. 

It was well known by the Greeks in ancient times, 
that bees would start atid build their combs very 
readily from slats or strips put across the top of the 
hives at proper spaces, which, together with the 
combs, could be lifted out by simply cutting loose 
the combs when fastened to the sides of the hive. 
A knowledge of these facts led Huber, a celebrated 
naturalist and one of the most renowned apiarians 
of either ancient or modern times, to invent a hive 
composed of frames, each frame capable of holding 
a single comb, eight of these frames. being put to- 
gether side by aide, fastened by hooks, and closed 

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around by shutters, thus forming the first movable 
frames and the first movable eoinb hive that was 
known to the world as such ; consequently Francis 
Huber, of Genoa, about the beginning of the pres- 
ent century, was the inventor of the fii-st movable 
comb hive ! He is justly entitled to receive the honor 
of founding what is now known as the movable 
comb system, which is destined to revolutionize the 
whole business of bee-keeping. 

About the year 1820, Mr. Dunbar, a Scotch apia- 
rian of considerable note, improved the Huber frame 
and hive. A few yeara later, it was still further im- 
proved by Mr. Goiding, an Engish apiarian, and co- 
temporary of the celebrated Dr. E. Bevan, who wrote 
a valuable book on bees. This style of hives has 
been used to some extent in England from that time 
up to the present. We also leara, that in Germany 
the slat hives, or movable bar hives, were in use at a 
very early period; and that a German apiarian, 
named Bzierzon, invented and used a frame suspended 
in a hive or box, many yeai-s ago. Last fall I saw 
some of these frames and a hive that were brought 
directly from Germany, with a colony of Italian bees. 
In shape and construction they are almost identical 
with those known as the Langstroth fi-ames. 

Btrange as it may appear, but little effort was 
made to introduce either the system or the movable 
comb hive (or rather leaf hive, as it was then called), 
into the Uiuted 8taf«s until. within the last ten yeara. 

Mr. Langstroth claims to be the original inventor 
of movable frames for managing and controlling 

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HIVES. 115 

eoraba and bees. In the year 1852 he obtained a 
I)ateiit for an improvement in bee hives, siuee which 
time public attention has been directed to the mova- 
ble comb principle, the result of which is, that it is 
now used in several forms or styles of hives. 

The necessity of having the full control of every 
part of the hive, combs and bees, when desired by 
the apiarian, is becoming so wel! understood and 
appreciated by a majority of intelligent bee-keepei-s, 
that the movable comb hive, in some shape, is now 
almost unanimouEly adopted, and will, no doubt, ere 
long entirely supersede all other classes of hives, 
however good they may have been in their day. Im- 
provement in bee hives has been advancing steadily, 
keeping pace with other implements of husbandry. 
The vahie of bees, and the necessity and importance 
of managing them scientificaliy, as we sometimes 
say, is now becoming clearly apparent, hence the im- 
portance of selecting and adopting the best form of 
movable comb Lives. 


In treating on this part of my subject, I will point 
out some of the most pi'ominent features of the 
movabio comb hives which have been presented to 
the public, and endeavor to contrast some of their 
advantages and disadvantages, letting the reader 
judge of their respective merits or demerits. I dis- 
claim any desire to disparage any hive, further than 
truth and an experimental knowledge of the facts in 
the premises require at my hands. 

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Theao cuts iUustqIo thi iir )us imprQumsBls in ■ 
the hmeof Uieirmvsntton No 1 5 tlio Huher Fmioe wliioli was inveuled 
and UBsa by Francis H ibor, of Goiion us oarly fis 1TB5. This is nnc(u<B- 
tionibly the original moi ible fraiuo No 2 is tho Pmmo as iinproTsd by tiio 
Bev L L Langetroth Tba principal difforcneo a in tho mode of using it, 
being Buspendel by n prujeolion of the top pjoee No 5 is tho Sectional or 
Adjnstablo Frams, ns patented by J. S. Harbison. It differs from those that 
procedad it, in its conslcuction and adjustment to preserve the proper spacaa, 
and retain tbein finnlv in theiv plane. 

The hives known as Langatrotli'a Movable Comb 
Hive, and Harbison's Improved Movable and Ad- 
justable Comb Hive, are perhaps better known to 
the public than any others of a similar kind, whilst 

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HIVES. 117 

we have Phelps', Kidder'e, and some others on the 
same principle, and the leaf hive, recently brought 
to notice by Underhill, of New York, which very 
closely resembles the original Huher hive. Of these, 
the Langstroth hive was the first introduced ; having 
been before the public neariy eight years, it is there- 
fore better known than any others. It waa, no 
doubt, an improvement in some particulars over the 
Huber hive, as improved by Dunbar and Golding 
(as I have already stated), and Mr. Langstroth is 
justly entitled to the gratitude and well wishes 
of the community for his efforts to improve and 
bring to the knowledge of tho people of the United 
States what had been commenced in Europe by other 
apiarians, aud might very appropriately be called the 
Huber hive and the Huber system. 

But it is not in man to attain to perfection in any 
thing; so with the Langstroth hive. Although an 
important improvement, yet it was found to have 
difficulties in practice, which have caused other par- 
ties to experiment for the purpose of overcoming 
these, and not to injure or detract from the merits 
of bis hive. 

In the first place, it was found that bees would 
not winter so well in broad, flat hives (in the open 
air,) as in hives that afforded a greater depth of 
combs. Another and a serious drawback was, the 
great difficulty in cleaning out the dead bees and 
other filth that is ever accumulating on the bottom 
of the hive ; the length of the hive, from front (o 
rear, being from eighteen to twenty-two inches, the 

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bottom etationary, and the apace between the bottoms 
of the frames and the bottom of the hive only about 
half an inch, rendered it quite impoasible to clean 
them without lifting out all the eombs, which is 
neither convenient nor yet proper to do at all times 
when they should be cleaned ; hence it was an im- 
portant consideration and a serious objection. The 
constmetion and adjustment of the frames waa not 
satisfactory. The facilities for transferring combs 
from other Lives of irregular sizes, and the mode of 
so adjusting the frames as to fix them permanent and 
stationary, preserving the proper spaces between 
them, was defective, frequently causing the bees to 
build their combs across and join them together, thus 
destroying their efficiency. 

Harbison's improved movable comb hive. 
The hive known as the California Hive, or Har- 
bison's Improved Movable Comb Hive, patented 
January 4th, 1859, has been in use two summers, 
and so far as I am informed, has given satisfaction. 
The depth of comb is about sixteen inches (nine 
frames to the hive), which is a good shape for win- 
tering bees in. Another important feature in this 
hive S3 the great ease with which it can be kept clean, 
by simply removing a slide in front, and if necessaiy, 
one in the rear, and brushing out any filth that may 
be found on the bottom board, with the feather end 
of a goose quill or any other small brush convenient. 
The bottom board being an inclined plane, enables 
the bees to throw out dead bees and filth with greater 

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ease than if flat ; it also prevents raJu from rumiing 
into tlie hive, or moisture from accumulating. It 
requires but four pieces to make the frame : the top 
piece serves as a comb-g'ji(5e and a rest for the honey- 
board, thus economizing both room and heat: the 
adjustable bar or centre piece can be moved either up 
or down, by pins or small nails, to suit the size of 
any piece of comb, while being transferred. The 

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frame is also provided with metallic fastenings, to 
hold the combs firmly in their place until properly 
secured by the bees ; and ai'e so acynsted as to secure 
the proper space between the combs at all times, 
fixing them in a perpendicular position, and retain- 
iug them firmly and immovably in their place, yet 
being easily removed when desired. 

The mode of ventilating this hive is new and 
novel. In cold weather the air is admitted into the 
graduated chamber below, from which it passes up 
into the hive, and escapes through an opening above, 
carrying off the foul air. This is very essential in 
wintering bees; cold winds are thus excluded and 
plenty of air supplied. Another important feature 
is the ease with which admittance can he had to 
the interior of the hive, by the peculiar manner in 
which the door and lid are arranged, giving free ac- 
cess to every part of the hive; and when closed it 
is free from water running into and standing in the 
joints, as often occurs where a cap ia set in a rabbet 
or groove. 

The general construction of this hive is pleasing 
to the eye, as well as being in conformity with the 
natural wants of the bee ; it is also cheap and easily 
constructed. Any one or more combs can be taken 
out with ease and dispatch, when necessary to ex- 
amine the condition of the colony; to make artificial 
swarms to supply queenless colonies with embryo 
queens, or combs which contain eggs or young iarva, 
from which they will rear queens ; and when it be- 
comes requisite to equalize the stores of houoy and 

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HIVES. 121 

pollen by taking combs from those hives that have 
more than is actually neccasaiy for their support, 
and exchanging with those that lack, enabling ail to 
live and prosper. 

A feature peculiar to this hive is the honey-board, 
or board which divides the main breeding depart- 
ment from the honey boxes. It is so arranged as to 
prevent the queen ascending to the honey boxes, 
which she frequently does, depositing eggs in combs 
intended only for a pure article of honey for market. 
This is more apt to occur in hives thut have but a 
small amount of drone-combs below ; that being the 
Idud of comb very commonly built in the boxes, 
seems to be an inducement for them to go up and 
deposit eggs, where openings are left immediately 
over the central part of the hive. Instead of getting 
boxes of delicious honey, there will occasionally be 
a box of nice young drone brood. A queen is fre- 
quently lost by being taken off when these boxes 
are removed, she being unable or unwilling to return 
to the hive from whence she was removed; if late 
in the season, the stock will most likely be lost in 
consequence. This difficulty is entirely overcome 
in tlie construction of this hive, the openings being 
at the sides and near the front, consequently out of 
the i-ange of her majesty. I have never known a 
single instance of the queen going into the honey 
boxes when thus arranged. 

This hive affords ample facilities to assist the beea 
in eradicating the moth and worms. I have no faith 
in moth-proof hives; if there are any such, I have 

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failed to sec them. The moth will go wherever bees 
can ; the best that can be done is to assist the bees 
to remove them when they have made a lodgment. 

I have thus noticed some of the principal advan- 
tages pertaining to this hive, and which renders it 
worthy the notice of all bee-keepers who favor the 
march of improvement in apiarian pursuits. It is 
true, that a person who is too ignorant or careless to 
manage bees properly, need not expect splendid re- 
sults from this or any other hive. Bee-keeping, to 
be either successful or profitable, muat firat be under- 
stood, and if then proceeded with, with eai-e and 
pereoverance, success is cei-tain to follow. The pecu- 
liarities of this hive are such as have suggested them- 
selves, from time to time, through a long series of 
years of practical and successful bee-keeping, both 
on a small and large scale, in the Atlantic States and 
in California; no part of it is founded on theory, but 
a test has been apphed to prove every point, and it ie 
submitted to the public, belienng that it will give 
full satisfaction. 


By the peculiar arrangement of this hive, air, with- 
out light, is admitted into the hive, so that the bees 
are well supplied with the necessary material for 
respiration ; and by being kept in the dark, they are 
continually in repose, and require less food for their 
sustenance than if they were in a state of activity. 
This economizes their winter's store, and saves the 
lives of many bees who would otherwise die of star- 
vation, and prevents the ravages of the neighboring 

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bees. Fig. 1, in our illuatrations, is a perspective 
view, and Fig. 2, a section of this hive ; and by refer- 
ence to them the eonstrnction will be mideratood. 

A is the incUned bottom-board of the fiftli chamber. 
It is elevated above the bottom of the hive, so as to 
form a chamber, by means of which the admission 
of air and light is gi'adiiated according to the require- 
ment of the bees at different seasons of the year. 

B is the graduating chamber for the admission of 

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air and liglit into the hive. C is a curtain, which can 
be raised to admit more or less liglit, as may he 
required, and, when lowered, serves for throwing a 
shade about the air space, thereby preventing the 
entrance of light into the working-chamber without 
interfering with the ventilation of the same, and 
which serves to keep the bees in a state of repose a 
greater part of the time when unable to collect honey, 
or during windy and cold weather at any season. D 
is the cross-piece to which the curtain is attached. It 
is secured to the inclined bottom-hoard, A, at each a 
distance from the door as to allow a space for the 
admission of air and light to the hive. B is the pas- 
sage for the admission of air and light to the hive, 
and F is a movable cross-piece, provided with two 
wire screens, G, for the purpose of admitting the air 
and light, which ascend through the passage, E. H 
is an adjustable slide, which tits loosely in grooves on 
the sides of the hive, and provided with a wedge, I, 
for the purpose of tightening or loosening the same, 
said slide, H, being removed to admit the discharge 
of any impurities which may have collected on the 
inclined bottom-hoai'd, A. J is a cross-piece, mor- 
tised to admit the lower end of the sectional comb- 
frames, K, which has a tenon cut on its lower end, 
and which fits into the mortise cut in the cross-piece, 
J, and also has a projection on its upper part which 
tits into a slot, a, cnt on the inner part of the front 
of the hive; by this means it is secured in its right 
position in the liive, tlie lower part of the sectional 
comb-frame, K, being adjustable up and down, by 

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HIVES. 125 

meaua of liolea and pins, for adjusting it to tlie dif- 
ferent sized combs. By removing the honey boxes, 
aud bearing on' tJie upper part of the sectional comb- 
franae, K, it can be elevated out of the slot, a, and the 
apiarian is thus enabled to remove or replace it with 
ease and facility without molesting the other bees, or 
in any way injuring the combs in the adjoining 

The sectional comb-frame, K, is provided with six 
or more flexible metal clamps, h J>, secured to its 
upper and lower ends, which seiTe to retain the comb 
in the sectional comb-frame; and by raising the 
flexible metal clamps, h h, on one aide of the frame, 
the apiarian can remove or replace a comb with 
facihty and dispatch, 

L is the platform supporting the honey-boxes, and 
resting on the tops of the sectional comb-frames, K, 
of such a width as to allow a passage for the bees to 
the honey box. The platform, L, is provided with a 
flexible back-angular clamp and a flexible front- 
angular hinged clamp, both of which serve to brace 
the honey boxes ; e e e are the honey-boxes resting 
on the platform, L ; / is the upper coupling strap, 
fitting under the angles of the flexible angular-clampa, 
which completes the bracing of the honey-boxes. 

By removing the coupling-strap, /, and folding 
down the flexible angular hinged clamps on L, the 
honey boxes may be removed separately ; and, by 
folding the flexible angular hinged clamp to its for- 
mer position, and replacing the coupling strap, /, the 
honey boxes may all be removed at once, thus afford- 

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ing greiit eaac iind facility for roacliing the sectional 
comb-frames, K ; g are apertiirea provitled with wire 
screens, m, and movable covers, for the admission of 
air and light to the graduating ehanibor, B. These 
openings are provided with movable covers for the in- 
gress and egress of the bees ; % is the door of the hive, 
provided with an opening, /, which is furnished with 
a mre screen, j), and movable cover, q, that serves to 
admit air aud light to the upper part of the hive. IC 
is a glass frame, resting on the CTOsa-piece, J, and 
inclosing the sectional comb-frame, K, and I is a glass 
frame resting on the glass frame, k, and inclosing tho 
lioney boxes, e e e. 


Two sides, 2 ft. 5 in. long, 13| in. wide. One 
door (for the rear or back of the hive), 2 ft. long; 
strips IJ in. nailed firmly on each end to keep it 
from warping, making its entire length 2 ft. 2^ in. 
and 15J in. wide. One front, 20^ in. long, with a 
strip on top IJ in. making entire length 21^ in. 
1.5J in. wide. One bottom board, 13j in. wide, MJ 
in. long; this is set 3 in. higher at tho rear than in 
front, making an inclined plane. One lid, 17 in. 
square; 1 in. strip nailed firmly with cloat nails 
under each end, 15 in. apart, leaving room to shut 
down nicely over tho hive. One piece for adjustable 
slide ill front, 5^ in. wide, 13 in. long, leveled to 
suit the bottom, and adjusted with wedges, as shown 
in engraving. 

Nail the sides to the bottom, giving the proper 

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(Page 120.) 

A view of the liiva when arranged for storing surplus hooey, e e 
ore the SGCtional honey bosea. L is the honey board, which is mov- 
able, and rests directly on tlie tops of the framea. K, the moTable 
frames of the principal chamber or breeding department of (he hive. 
J is Iho oroEs-liar in which gains or nofches are ciif to receive the 
lower end of the frame. F is a crons piece, witli wire cloth for 
ventilation. Y ia the door nr KliuitiT. $n is an upening, covered 
with wire clofli, fnr foul air to escape through. Z, the lid tlirown 

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TirvRs. 127 

bevel to form the iiidined plane, aw seen in engrav- 
ing; put on the front, wliicli should previously Ite 
bored or mortised to receive the ends of the top 
piece of the frames ; place a strip 2J in. under the 
bottom, at the back part of the hive, under the 
door; now hang the door, with 2 in. butt; hang the 
lid, also, with butts, to the front of the hive, so that 
it will open from rear to front; put a strip 1^ in. 
across the front of the hive, 17 iu. from the lid; just 
above this bore two holes, 1 in. diameter, which 
servo as convenient enti'aneea for the bees ; place a 
strip under the front end of the bottom board to fall 
down square with the bottom, and a small piece to 
fill out fi'om this strip to the front piece. The ease 
is now complete. The cross-bar (in which gains are 
cut for the feet of the frames to stand in,) is set in, 
gains cut in the sides of the hive, 19^ in. from the 
lid to its upper edge ; cross-bar is 1 J in. square, gains 
cut in this are -f in. wide, leaving .spaces between of 
f in. making the spaces between the frames 1| in.; 
a piece 2 in. wide is set between this and the bottom 
board, through which holes are made, and covered 
with wire cloth, to ventilate from the graduated 
chamber below, a recess of J inch being left between 
the end of the bottom and the door for an air passage. 

Height of frames, IZ^ in.; top piece of the frame, 
13J in. the front end pixyecting j in. which enters 
the hole or mortise in front board ; tenon on the foot 
on the opposite angle of the frame, 1-^ in. long, | in. 

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■wide ; the centre piece or adjustable bar is triangular, 
f in. on either piece, and should be set from the 
centre to the lower end of frame, or can be set up or 
down, to suit the width of comb when transferring. 
Nine of these frames are used in each hive. Combs 
wiJl project below the ends to the bottom board. 
The top piece of the frame is | in, square. Set 
with one edge down, to form a comb-guide, the 
opposite one up, on which the honey-board rests; the 
sides are ^ in. wide, f in. thick. 

A aaeh for 10 by 12 glass is put in the rear. Put a 
honey-board on top of the frames, resting directly on 
them and on the sash. The honey-board is 13 in. 
wide and llj in. long, with a strip on each end |- in. 
wide, to keep it from warping. Openings ai-e made 
at the sides and front for bees to ascend to the honey 
boxes, the chamber for which should be about 6^ in. 
high by 13 in. square. 


This hive is constructed somewhat similar to 
Langstroth's, but is of greater depth and nearly 
square. The principal difference is in the frames. 
Phelps' frame is composed of five frames : first, one 
about a foot square, in which are four frames six 
inches square, each of them fitting ueatly into the 
larger one; in each of these there are comb-guides. 
The principal advantage claimed for this arrange- 
ment is, that the two upper frames can be removed 
when full, and replaced with empty ones, thus obvi- 
ating the necessity of using surplus honey boxes 

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noMBV BOXKS. 129 

above. The bees are permitted to occupy the two 
lower frames for brood and stores. 

I have not had the opportunity of testing the 
merits of this hive, but it strikes me th?t the frame 
13 too complicated and detached, so ranch space being 
taken np by the divisions or partitions in the frames, 
which ia more difficult to keep warm than if comb. 
Of other hives on the movable comb principle, but 
little is yet known. 


Tub style of spare horiey receptacles is an impor- 
tant feature in bee-keeping. As in most places the 
sui-pkis honey is the chief reliance for revenue, con- 
sequently it is highly important that it be got up for 
market in the best shape. I have used various kinds 
of boxes for some years, among othera the wooden 
boxes made of boards ^ thick, box 12J inches long, 
6 inches square, with glass in one end; holes were 
bored in these to correspond with holes in the honey- 
hoard. For home use, and for a number of enstom- 
ei-s, these boxes served a very good purpose ; they 
are cheap, and easily made, 


I also make boxes with glass sides, the top, bottom 
and ends of wood. These I get out 6 inches wide, 
bottoms and tops 12| in length, and ends 5J, I used 

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a, I inch beediiig plaue, the bit so Ibrmed as to work 
a nice heed on the corner of the board, and at the 
same time cut a channel J inch deep, and of proper 
width, to receive the glass, which should be cut 5J 
by 12| to fit nicely in the groove. Boxes made in 
this manner are both neat, convenient and cheap, 
and will sell readily in any market, without any de- 
duction fof tare. 

This style of bosea, to suit a ret^l trade, may be 
made 6 inches square, or half size, weighing from six 
to seven pounds, when well filled. Many customers 
will buy one of these small boxes, when it would not 
be desirable to buy one of larger size. 


This is a. view of the ^oiiunal honoy bo^ Nn 1 is a ring or single seo- 
tioo, partly detaohaJ II la made of stuff S in thitk by IJ in wide when 
Bniehod ench ring is 6J in. squaro on the outside; eight of thsse seotions 
oompose a box 6| in. by 12 in. A small ti'langulBr cooib-gulde is put in the 
oentre of the top plo«e of tho aftotion. If the proper spQCd is observed, boca 
will build a comb in oaeb with great regularity. 

The sectional honey box was recently patented by 
John 8. Harbison (of the firm of "W". 0. & J. 8. Har- 
bison). It is composed of eigbt rings, or frames. 

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The abore cot sliOTTs the pieces in detail, which being put (ogeth«r 
constitute a single ring or aeotioa of the sectional boney box. 

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provided with comb-guides, each of which is the 
propel* size to contain a single comb. The edges of 
these fmmes fit up closely together, and are fastened 
by clamps or strips let into rabbets on the sides, 
taclced at eaeh end, forming a perfect box, which if 
desired for rebiiling in market, or for private use, 
can be easily subdivided into small parcels, of from 
one pound upward, to suit the wants of purchasers, 
without cutting or in any way breaking a single cell 
of honey, thereby saving loss from leakage, and obvi- 
ating the difficulty of smearing everything it comes 
in contact with. This box greatly economizes the 
animal heat generated by the bees. It is well known 
that it is a disadvantage to have them build in small 
boxes ; this is really a large box, and yet possesses all 
the conveniences of small ones. 

The rings or sections are made of soft wood, top 
pieces 1^ in, wide, 6^ in. long, f in. thick; aides 5^ 
in. long, same width and thickness as the top ; bottom 
is a piece ^ in. square, set with one edge up, the 
opposite one downward, the edge flush with the end 
pieces. A triangular comb-guide should be put in 
the centre of the top piece, and all nailed together 
with I ■dnishing nails. 

Jars and tumblers are put on to be filled with 
honey, more for ornament than utility ; they arc only 
nice to exhibit. Pieces of white comb should be 
stuck to the bottom to serve as guide-combs. 

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Ii is of the utmost importance, for the s 
an apiary, that it ebouM he located in a neighborhood 
where the bees can readily find an abundant supply 
of good pasturage. The success of bee-Jceeping de- 
pends greatly upon this. As well might a stock 
gi'ower expect to make his cattle profitable, without 
supplying them properly with food, as to suppose 
bees will live, thrive and be of benefit to their owners 
without obtaining constant supplies of pollen and 
honey, in some way, from spring to fall, with hut 
little if any intermission. 

The inquiiy is frequently made, Why is it that 
bees at the present day do not swarm so much, nor 
make as much honey, as they did years ago, during 
the early settlement of the country ? "With the same 
propriety it might be inquired, Why it is that cattle, 
horses and other stock that run at large without being 
cared for, do not thrive and be as profitable to their 
owners now as formerly? 

I presume that any school boy of ten yeai's old 
could very readily answer the latter question, whilst 
the first has puzzled many older heads, and would-be 
wise bee-keepers; yet the answer to the second 
question applies with equal force to the firet, 

Tlie country, in its wild state, produced in the 
greatest abundance an unvarying succession of flow- 
ei«, from early spring until frost came, yielding for 

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Bee pastukase. 133 

the bees unlimited supplies of bee-bread and honey, 
enabling them to propagate very rapidly, and to store 
up immense quantitiea of honey, bidding defiance to 
the moth, unless, perhaps, some disorganized colony 
would fall a prey to their depredations. As the fot- 
eets were felled, and the country cleared and brouglit 
into a state of cultivation, this source of pasturage 
was ill many places almost entirely cut off, until 
their sole dependence was on the clover and buck- 
wheat, which lasts but about two months of the 
year; the remainder of the season they cannot gather 
sufficient honey to supply their immediate wants. 
In such cases, raen have provided pasture and made 
suitable provision for all other kinds of domestic 
stock, but the bee, the most faithful and productive 
of all servants, is ieft to provide for itself; the in- 
evitable result of which will be their total extinction 
in old settled countries, unless a change is made in 
this direction, and pasturage supplied for them, 
which can be done with proHt. 


The aiders, hazel and willows, some of which 
yield honey and others pollen (most species of flow- 
ers yield both. My obsei'vations lead me fo believe 
that the male flower yields pollen, and the female 
honey ; I have frequently seen bees gathering both 
honey and pollen from the same kind of flowers at 
the same time. It can be tested by examining both 
the honey sac and the baskets on the thigh,) are the 
first to afford the bees provision in the spring; 

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where theee abound the bees advance earlier than 
elsewhere. The soft maple {acer rubrum) yields a 
considerable quantity of honey Very early, if the 
weather is fine; the golden or yellow willow also 
yields supplies quite early ; peach, cherry and pear 
trees put forth early ; gooseberries, strawberries, cur- 
rants, &c. all afford rich supplies. To close this list 
of early Aowera, the dandelion and apple come forth 
in rich profusion, all of which ai-e of the utmost 
importance for the prosperity of the bees during the 
season. If this early pasturage fails, or if the 
weather should be so unfavorable aa to prevent the 
bees from gathering a supply of provisions, they will 
fail to rear a sufficient quantity of brood to swarm 
early or to harvest the clover boney to advantage- 
When such a condition of things exists, feed care- 
fully as directed in the chapter on feeding. It is but 
seldom, if ever, that a sufficient quantity of honey is 
gathered from these early flowers to cause the bees 
to store it in surplus boxes, yet enough is frequently 
obtained to fill up a large portion of the combs from 
which the honey has been consumed during the win- 
ter, and serves to supply their immediate wants until 
clover blooms. 

Let me here caution all bee-keepers to see well to 
this matter, and be sure that your little servants are 
well supplied with provisions from the opening of 
spring until the white clover blooms. 


Turnips, cabbage and the hard maple {acff mc- 

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charinus) jield a consideralale quantity of honey, but 
later than the soft maple. Turnips produce a very 
copious supply of both honey and pollen, and if left 
standing in the ground over winter, they bloom just 
at a time to fill the recess between the fruit tree 
flowers and the clover. This ia also the ease with 
the cabbage family, all of which yield large quanti- 
ties of honey. A field of either turnips or cabbage 
at this early season, is of greater value to the bees 
than the same quantity of either clover or buckwheat. 

I would here impress upon the minds of all bee- 
keepera the importance of cultivating a field in tur- 
nips each year. In the fall gather in all the large, fine 
ones, either for marketing or for feeding sheep 
ftnd cattle during winter, for which they are very 
valuable, and will well repay the expense of raising 
them ; enough small ones will be left standing in the 
ground over winter to make a rich field of pasturage 
for the bees in the spring, leaving the ground in fine 
condition for a crop of buckwheat, or to sow down in 
wheat in autumn, or to again put down in turnips. 

The various kinds of blackberries, and the wild or 
bird cherry {eerasus seratina), yield honey, and serve 
to supply to some extent the recess above referred to. 
We have also a species of kale, or wild turnip, 
which if sowed veiy early in the spring will com- 
mence to bloom toward the latter part of May, and 
is very valuable. I can supply seed of this plant at 
any time to persons desiring it. 

Raspberries of all kinds yield an immense amount 
of honey, and continue blooming, giving a succession 

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of fresh flowers, for about three weeks. Bat few if 
any flowers produce such quantities of honey as the 
raspberry, in proportion to the number of flowers. 
Bees work on them from early dawn until dewy eve, 
singing a cheerful song all the while ; even a shower 
of rain will not drive them from it. The honey ie 
of the finest CLuaiity. These facts should bo turned 
to good account, when we consider the value of the 
raspberry (being a certain crop,) as a market fniit, 
and also for family use, and the ease with which it 
can be cultivated. In the country, large plats of 
ground, even fields, should be devoted to its culture, 
and in towns and cities plats in every garden should 
be set aside for its cultivation, as well for its fruit aa 
for the honey it produces. 

Catnip, motherwort, hoarhound, honeysuckles and 
various otlier kinds of flowers, put forth about the 
same time; each would be of great value, if in suffi- 
cient quantities. 

At the head of this list preeminently stands white 
clover (trifoUum repens), which is found along the 
roadsides in meadows, grain fields, gardens, pasture 
fields, in fact it may be seen every where. The seed, 
which are veiy abundant and very smali, are driven 
in every direction by the winds ; this has been over- 
looked by previous writers. The heads, which contain 
the seed, are quite small and very light; the stalks 
stand erect until winter sets in and the ground is 
frozen, by which time the stalk of it has become 

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biittie, and every wind breaks ofl' and rolls along the 
ground a portion of these little seed-pods, until they 
meet some obstruction; here they mil germinate. 
Thus they arc scattered in every direction. I have 
frec^uently seen tliem driven furiously on the crust 
of a shallow snow, through which the heads would 
project. The value of this clover is entirely under- 
rated as a pasture for cattle or horses, as well as 
bees ; it is always selected by stock in preference to 
the red clover. The honey gathered from it is of 
the highest excelleuee, botli in beauty and flavor; 
and I believe in good seasons all the bees, in any 
neighborhood where it abounds, could not gather 
t!ie fourth part, so great is the quantity produced. 

The tulip tree [Uriodendron), or poplar, as it is 
called by some, by others white-wood, is a gi'cat pro- 
ducer of houey, Nothing of the tree land that I 
have ever seen, exceeds it ; the flowei'a expand in 
succession, are of a bell-like shape, month upwai'd. 
In dry, warm weather, I have seen a teaspoonful of 
pure honey or saccharine matter, in a single cup or 
flower. Bees work upon it with the same vigor they 
manifest when carrying honey from some other hive, 
or when fed to them. I have frequently seen our 
beea caiTying in this honey from the first peep of 
day until long after the sun had set, on warm, moon- 
light nights. Where this timber abounds, bees reap 
a rich harvest from it. 

The yellow and black locust tree yield large 
quantities of honey. It is a tree every farmer should 
cultivate for posts; it wiH ere long be in great de- 

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maiid for that purpose. The Unden, or bass-wood 
{tilia Americana), produces honey to a large amount. 
All of these varieties of trees should be extensively 
eultivated, both as shade and ornamental trees, as 
well as for their timber and the vast quantities of 
honey they yield. Sumach also produces honey 
bountifully ; the difficulty, however, ia, that there are 
but few places where these are found in sufficient 
quantities to be of importance. I trust they will be 
extoneively cultivated. 


The common black mustard is one of the moat 
valuable plants to cultivate aa a pasture for bees ; it 
is easily raised, by simply sowing it on ground when 
well plowed and pulverized by harrowing smooth, 
and then brushing it in with a light brush or very 
light harrow. It should be sown early in the spring, 
on good ground. The seed is now worth from eight 
to fourteen cents per pound in Pittsbargh and other 
cities, for grinding and preparing for table use ; at 
these prices it will pay well aa a field crop, being 
worth more per bushel than clover seed. I was told 
recently by a man largely engaged in giindiiig and 
preparing spices, that it is quite difficult to get a 
supply of good mustard ; so scarce is it, that it be- 
comes necessary to import it from Europe. He also 
informed me that this black mustard is of greater 
value than the white. Those interested in bee-keep- 
ing should give the cultivation of mustard some 
attention. As a 1)60 pasture it has few superiors, 

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yielding both pollen ivnd honey in great abundance ; 
it begins to open its flowers when quite young and 
continues as the bush expands, until it becomes very 
large ; each day brings forth new blossoms. A field 
of mustard in full bloom is a moat magnificent sight ; 
it is like a vast pile of golden flowers ; the plants are 
completely enveloped with flowers, from the ground 
up as high as a man's head. There is no other plant 
that I ever noticed tliat produces ao many flowers to 
any given quantity of gi'ound, nor yields so much 
honey. Last summer we raised a field of it in Cali- 
fornia, expressly for our bees, and found it to pay 
largely, as it filled a recess that occurred between 
other flowers. In almost any of the Atlantic States it 
serves to fill the recess that oceui's between the closing 
of the white clover and the opening of the buck- 
wheat flowers, a period of about four weeks, which 
is the very best part of the year for gathering honey, 
as the weather is genei-ally warm and calm ; hence 
the propriety of raising this crop to employ the bees 

In the Ban Jose valley, California, mustard is 
almost the entire dependence of the bee-keepers for 
their surphis honey; it grows spontaneously there, 
and can be seen in its purity. The honey produced 
from it resembles that yielded fi-om the linden, both in 
color and taste. 

Mignonette, a modest, unpresuming little flower, 
found in all well assorted collections, is one of the 
greatest value as a bee pasture, if grown in suffi- 
cient quantities to bo aii object. It is low growing 

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aiid Spreading in its liabita, similar to \yhite clover, 
and yields both honey and pollen ; it will bloom con- 
tinuallj', from the middle of Juue until killed by 
frosts in the fall. It is easily raised in large quantities 
if the ground is clear of weed seed, plowed and well 
pulverized by harrowing before sowing. Sow thinly 
and brush it in with a light brush ; all that ia required 
after this is to pull out any large-growing weeds that 
may chance to make their appearance before the 
mignonette spreads over the gronnd ; when it takes 
possession of the ground, it needs no further care. 
A bed of these flowers will perfume the air for quite 
a distance around, so rich is it. Beea will work on 
it from daylight until dark ; two or three may be 
seen at once on a single head or flower, 


The eephalanthus Canadensis, or button-bush, which 
grawe in swanips and low, wet, marshy grounds in 
almost every part of the United States, preserving 
the same appearance wherever found, produces honey 
of the highest excellence. The honey gathered from 
this shrub is of a very light straw color, of a thick, 
heavy body and very excellent flavor. Bees thrive 
and store honey very rapidly when they have access 
to large quantities of these flowers. The time of 
blooming varies vrith diflerent localities, but it gen- 
erally begins to put forth flowers about the first of 
July, and continues for three or four weeks. 

In the Sacramento and some other valleys in Cali 
fornia, the eephalanthus abounds along streams of 

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water or in the edges of the Tule landa, where it 
grows very large and yields imnienee quatitities of 
honey, of the beat quality in the State, and scarcely 
inferior to any in the world. 


Ill all places where this valuable grain is raised, it 
becomes an important accession to bee pasturage. 
A field of buckwheat yields an incredible quantity 
of honey, which perfumes the air for a considerable 
distance around. "When the weather is favorable, 
the bees store honey from it very rapidly, faster at 
times than they can build combs to receive it, I 
have seen them fill pieces of old combs laid close to 
the entrance of the hive, with honey, and have 
known colonies to fill four boxes of honey, or about 
fifty pounds, during the continuance of buckwheat. 
This is by no means a common occurrence, and goes 
to show that this honey harvest is one of great im- 
portance to the bee-keeper. Buckwheat may he 
sown about a month earlier than usual, to furnish 
pasturage to come in about the close of clover, to 
great advantage. 

I have thus shown that various kinds of flowers may 
be cultivated to produce abundant pasturage to supply 
the bees bountifully with stores, from early spring 
until autumn. If bees are still permitted to starve, 
it will be the fault of their keepers in neglecting to 
provide for them ; and they will consequently reap 
the reward of their negligence in the loss of their 
bees. Only the most important kinds of flowera 

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that produce honey and pollen have been mentioned. 
A great many others of value have not been named, 
that in some localities yield the greatest abundance 
of honey. My object is to call special attention to 
such kinds as can and ought to be cultivated for 
other purposes, as well as for bee pasture. Until 
care is taken to supply flowers for bees on the same 
principle that pasture is provided for cattle, bee- 
keeping will not rest on a solid foundation, but will 
be precarious and uncertaifi. To cultivate such 
flowers as I have suggested, simply keeping the 
supply uniform throughout the season ; or in other 
words, to return to first principles, to restore by cul- 
tivation an amount of pasturage equivalent to wliat 
has been destroyed, will render bee-keeping as reli- 
able as any other business. 

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"When bees are alarmed for the safety of their 
stores, they immediately rush to the cells and fill 
their sacs with honey, apparently to provide against 
any contingency that might arise. When in this 
condition, they are perfectly harmless, never volun- 
teering an attack; consequently, to tame bees or 
render them docile and easily driven or handled, 
simply take advantage of thia peculiar instinct. Con- 
fine them closely to their hive, and rap repeatedly 
on its sides for a few minutes, they will become 
alarmed, and gorge themselves with honey, when 
they can be handled and controlled at pleasure. 

We have adopted the following plan, which we 
find best adapted to our hive, and recommend it to 
others, with the assurance that it will give satisfac- 
tion. Take clean cotton or linen rags, such as are 
used in the manufacture of paper ; make a nice roll 
of these, about an inch in diameter and from six to 
twelve inches long ; wrap it pretty tight, either with 
narrow strips or shreds torn fi'om pieces of cloth, or 
wrapping yarn of any kind; prepare a number of 
such rolls, and keep on hand in a box or any dry 

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place in or neai- the apiary, together with some 
matches. When you wish to open a hive or perform 
any operation, set fire to one end of a roll of raga — it 
makes quite a smoke without any bla^ae ; upon open- 
ing the hire, blow the smoke vigorously among the 
bees for a moment or two, which terrifies them 
without doing any permanent injuiy; they immedi- 
ately rush to the cells and fill their sacs with honey, 
when you can proceed to lift out one eomb after 
another, and perform any operation with perfect 
impunity, without any fear of being stnng, unless by 
those from other hives near at hand. Should there 
be some, however, that show signs of battle, blow a 
little more smoke upon them, and repeat it from 
time to time until the close of the operation. 

Toward the end of the honey season, when they 
are rich and increased in stores, they are harder to 
control than at any other season of the year. When 
this occurs, put a small portion of tobacco or a few 
grains of sulphur in your roll of rags, which renders 
the smoke more pungent, and will drive them with, 
perfect ease, 


It is said, an ounce of prevention is better than a 
pound of cure. All persons are liable to be stung in 
hot weather, when passing near their bees, when 
cleaning filth from the bottom of the hive, removing 
woi-ms, changing honey boxes, or any thing of this 
kind. This causes many to neglect their bees, and 
thereby consign them to the tender mercies of the 
moth. The fear of being stung detera many persons 

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The nbove illustrates the proteeto 
;iele to miiiiy hec-kecpevs, ii,)i(l oii« 

eil — an indiepensuliie 

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from keeping bees ; tiiis can eaaily be prevented, and 
one of the greatest objections to bee-keeping removed, 
by simply using a veil or screen to protect the face 
and neck, and gum elastic or buckskin gloves to 
protect tho hands. Take a piece of silkbobbinet, 
(green, if it can be obtained), about two feet in width 
by four and a half in length, gather the edge or side 
of this into a band that will slip over the crown of 
tlie hat down to the brim, suspending it over the 
edge of the brim all around the face and neck ; attach 
a tape or string at the back part, near the lower 
edge ; pi^a this arouad so as to confine tho veil to 
the coat or vest collar, and fasten beneath the chin. 
By wearing a broad brim summer hat, it keeps the 
veil from coming in contact with any part of the 
face, and effectually protects it. This veil can be 
easily carried in the coat pocket, or kept in some 
convenient place for instant use ; when used it ob- 
structs the view but little, and does not injure tho 
eyes by continued use. Other kindsofbobbinet, or 
even such stuff as is commonly used for mosquito 
bars, may be used in the same manner; the cost of 
which would be less than silk. We have used hats 
made of fine wire cloth, but have discarded them for 
two reasons: first, to wear one of these and be ex- 
posed to a hot sun, is disagreeable, and even danger- 
ous, as they afford but little protection from its rays ; 
but the greatest objection is the injurious effect upoo 
the eyes, produced by the frequent use of the wire, 
the reflection of the rays of the sun from the wire 
soon producing an aching or painful sensation, and 

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afl'ecting the sight, hence I prefer the veil. I would 
recommend all persons to provide several, by getting 
cheap sumnier hats and trimming them with veils ; 
keep them in some convenient, dry place near the 
entrance of the apiary. If a visitor who is fearfnl 
of being etung, wishes to look into the apiarj', he 
can don a screen or veil, and examine all the curiosi- 
ties without any fear, A sense of perfect security 
against the attacks of the bee renders the most timid 
very courageous ; in fact, if it was generally under- 
stood that there is no positive necessity for being 
stung in the management of bees, ten would e 
in it for one that does so at present. 

Should you wish to transfer a colony from an or- 
dinary hive, proceed as follows : invert your hive, 
place a box on the mouth of it, close up any aper- 
tores with a cloth, or anything convenient, to prevent 
the bees from getting out, then rap gently hut repeat- 
edly on the hive, continue this for some time ; the 
bees will goi'ge themselves with honey and ascend to 
the box, when you can gently remove it and let it 
stand until the combs are transferred to the new hive, 
the few bees that remain will give but little trouble. 
Having all things in readiness, the frames provided 
with strips of tin ^ in. wide and 2^ long, proceed to 
remove one side of the old hive to admit of cutting 
out the comb full size, without breaking or mutilat- 
ing them; adjust the centre bar of the frame to suit 
the depth of the comb, cutting off any points or in- 

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(Pago 146.) 
!(1. A, the lioi [ilnned o' 


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This out illugtrates the W-fumer of outling and fitting combs in the 
frames. D represents a comb taken &om the old hive and laid on a 
table. K is a frame laid an it. A knife 13 now need (as seen in the 
pnaraTing) to nut the tioml] to the propci' si«e and shape. 

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eijualitiea that exist in the comb ; place the frame in 
a perpendicular poaition, put the comb in it, in a 
position similar to that it oeeupied in the old hive, 
bend the braces down on both sides and press them 
gently against the aides of the combs; now place it 
in the new hive. Proceed in the same manner until 
all the combs are removed, carefully brushing off 
into the new hiye any bees that may adhere to the 
combs. Be earefnl to place all the combs containing 
either eggs or brood together, side hy side, as near 
the centre as possible, placing tlie store combs at the 
sides. When all is completed put in the eash, take 
the box containing the bees, brush or shake them 
down among the combs, brush them gently until 
all are below the tops of the frames, then insert the 
chamber floor or honey-board to prevent them from 
ascending, shut down the lid and close the door, 
raise the slide or shutter in the front about a half 
inch, place the hive where the stragglers will be 
attracted by the sound of those in their new home; 
in the morning set the new hive where the colony 
originally stood, otherwise many bees will bo lost. 

"W"e prefer to transfer at night in a shop or room 
of mild or warm temperature, to prevent the brood 
from getting chilled during the operation ; the bees 
will immediately proceed to clean up the dripping 
honey and fasten the combs, and by morning all 
smell of broken combs and fresh honey will be re- 
moved, thereby obviating the danger of inciting 
others to rob them. With proper care they can be 
tmnsferred at any time of day. Care should be 

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148 BliES AND BEK-KEBi-raO, 

tivkeu ill transferring when there is a limited supply 
of honey, aa the elaboration of wax necessary to 
fasten the combs, causes the bees to consume a 
much larger amount of honey than would otherwise 
be required, hence the necessity of feeding them 
under such circumstances. 



It is a well attested fact, that if a queen is removed 
from a colony of bees when they are in possession of 
eggs recently deposited in worker cells, or if they 
have larva not more than three or four days old, they 
will proceed to rear young queens as soon as they 
discover the loss of their old one. To guard against 
accident, they will usually rear from two to ten, and 
occasionally as many as fifteen or twenty young 

The queen cells are usually suspended from the 
edge of a comb or some projecting point. They com- 
mence by cutting out the partitions between two or 
three worker ceils, and form a cup similar in size 
and shape to that of an acorn ; in this they deposit 
a substance similar to jelly, at first of a light or 
whitish color, but afterward tuniing to a brown or 
reddish. This is called royal .{eliy- On this they 

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deposit a workei' egg or young larva, and continue 
to increase the length of the cell until it is about an 
inch long, and about the sixth day seal it up, when 
it resembles a pea nut, both in shape, size and color. 
After remaining sealed up from eight to twelve days, 
or from fourteen to eighteen days from the removal 
of the old queen (the time is varied by tbe temper- 
ature of the weather; in California they usually 
emerge from the cell about the fourteenth day, whilst 
ip Pennsylvania about the sixteenth or eighteenth), 
the first one to come forth will soon find her way to 
the cells containing her sister queens and destroy 
them, hy cutting into the sides of the cells and in- 
flicting a death wound on her unsuspecting sister, by 
stinging her. 

When queens are wanted to supply artificial swarms 
or queenless colonies, the royal cell should he re- 
moved fmm the queen nursery three or four days 
before any emerge, and placed in the colony where 
wanted. Providing queens in this manner renders 
the propagation of bees by division or artificial 
swarms easy, and the result certain. 


In the spring, when stocks have become strong 
and a few drones have made their appearance, there 
being a plentiful supply of honey abroad, is a proper 
time to commence dividing. Three plans present 
themselves, cither of which may he adopted and 
practiced successiuliy, the first of which is as follows: 
A few days before you wish to make any consider- 

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150 KfiEK AMI BKlMiKiOPiXll, 

able ninuber of artificial swarniB, divide one of your 
strong colonies, make an uqua! division of bees, 
eombs, honey and brood ; this wo cal! a prelimiimry 
diviaion. Place an empty fra>no or two next to those 
containing the comb; take a piece of clean cloth 
(common brown sheeting muslin is as good as any), 
and cut or tear it in pieces thirteen inches wide by 
about twenty-seven long, put this over the top of the 
fi-ames, and suspend it over or down outside of the 
empty frame until it i-eaxjhes the bottom board; this 
preserves the heat, which is very essential, and con- 
denses the space to correspond with the size of the 
colony. Care should be taken in all cases to put the 
combs containing eggs or brood together in the 
centre of the colony, to prevent its getting chilled. 
Let the bees adhere, to the combs just as they are 
lifted from the hive. When the division is com- 
pleted, if convenient, close up one of the new colonies 
and take it half a mile or a mile distant to a neigh- 
bor's house, or some suitable place ; by so doing, all 
the old worker bees remain in each' colony, just as 
when first, divided. The one destitute of a queen 
will soon set to work to rear queens to supply their 
loss, as has been described, Ho long as they have the 
means of supplying themselves with a queen, they 
will work away, apparently as contented and happy as 
if they were in ijossession of one; but during the 
time they are destitute they invariably build drone 
comb, if they build any, 

"Wlien it is not convenient to remove one of the 
colonies to a distance, as hm just been stated, shift 

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(Page 150.) 

This illuBtration sliows the mode of arranglBg an ftrrifioial awarm. 
Figures 2, 3, 4, are frames containing beth stores, brood and beea, 
just removed from the parent stock. An empty fraiiio is seen next 
to Sgure 2; over this the cloth is spread, L ia the honey board,. 
■• ( are the honey bosee, set on one side of the hive- 

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(P.S. 151.) 

The above cugraving represents a parent hive from wliich an a 
ficial hive has just been taken. Figures 1, 5, 3, 7, 8, 9, are frai 
containing stores, brood, bees, &c. that remain in tlie liive. ' 
spaces should be filled with emjvty framea. 

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tliQ old liive sideways about the width of itself, and 
plaeo the new one on the opposite side of the old 
stand, so that each will occupy about the same rela- 
tive position to it. If you have observed in which 
hive the queen was put, close the entrance entirely 
to prevent those from the other hive finding her, or 
most of the old workers that had been abroad and 
had their course established, will return to her, 
and thus endanger the success of the other col- 
ony. If too many leave it and return to the one 
containing the queen, the brood will be chilled and 
destroyed; but when they find they are entirely cut 
off from their queen mother and thrown entirely on 
their own resources, tlicy set to work to construct 
queen cells, and in twenty-four hours time they will 
have their course to and from the new hive as well 
established as from the old one. When it can be 
opened, it is well to set up a board a little in front 
and between the hives, for a few days. Great care 
must be taken at all times to ventilate well, when a 
hive is closed up. 

In about ten or twelve days after the division is 
made, open the hive which contains the young, or 
or rather embiyo queens ; lift out the combs careful- 
ly, commencing at one side, for there is danger 
of braising or destroying the qneen cells, which fre- 
quently project beyond the sides of the comb; take 
a sharp, tJiin-bladed knife, cut out a small piece of 
comb, say an inch square, from which the queen 
cell was suspended, replace the comb again in the 
hive, and proceed immediately to divide another 

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152 llEEfi ANB liUB-KKEPING. 

colony ill the manner just described for making a 
preliminary division, being careful to observe in 
which hive the queen is placed. N'ow take the queen 
cell or embryo queen, cut a square hole in a central 
position in one of the combs, to correspond in size 
with the square piece to which the queen cell is 
attached, and insert it gently, being careful not to 
press or bruise it; press the wax of the surrounding 
comb down at the edges, to prevent it from falling 
out. The bees will soon fasten it permanently. 
Care should be taken to place the embryo queen in 
a position similar to that in which it was built ; place 
the comb in the centre of the colony, close it up, 
covering the frames with a cloth, as has been di- 
rected. Either remove the new colony a half mile 
or more distant, or place it at one side of the old 
stand, as recommended in the preliminary division. 
Great care is necessary to prevent the embryo 
queen from getting chilled during the process ; she 
should not be exposed to a temperature below 70 
degrees, and that for a short time only. 

An expert apiarian will perform all this operation 
in a very few minutes. When one division is thus 
completed, proceed as before, taking out another 
embryo queen and make another division, and still 
another, until all the embryo queens hare been used 
except one, which it is necessary to leave to supply 
the colony, which we may with great propriety call 
a queen nursery. We will suppose this colony reared 
six queen cells, five are removed and used to supply 
as many new colonies and one left; thus six new 

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colonies are made, with a fair prospect of having fer- 
tile qaeene ia from twenty to twenty-six days from 
the date of the fii^t division. The time should be 
noted carefully, and' if at the end of twenty-two to 
twenty-five days no eggs are found in the cells, the 
presumption is that some accident has happened the 
(jueen. N'ow open a hive which yon know has a fer- 
tile queen, take out a comb containing brood just 
emerging fi-om the cells, and also having some eggs 
or young larva; the young bees will serve to strength- 
en np the colony, and the egga ivill enable them 
to real' a queen in case the previous one is lost. 
Ail new colonies should be carefully examined every 
few days, until they have a fertile queen; this is 
known by the eggs found in the combs. In making 
divisions, empty frames should be put in the hive 
from time to time, as the building of combs pro- 
se, until the hives are full. 


When stocks of bees are not so strong and vigor- 
ous as to be divided in equal parts in the manner 
before described, and the apiarian is still desirous to 
increase his stocks without reducing any one to a 
weak condition, it may be done very safely in the 
following manner : Have a supply of embryo 
queens, as already described; have your hive in 
readiness ; take one or two frames of comb from 
each hive containing a proportion of honey, pollen, 
brood, &0. examining each comb very carefully lest 
the queen should be removed. In this way a new 

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colony is made up from two or three old ones. 
Remove the bees that adhere to the combs, place an 
embi70 queen or royai cell in one of the combs. 
Combs containing brood should in all cases be 
placed as near the centre as possible ; blow a little 
smoke among the bees, close up the hive, covering 
the frames and bees as before described with a cloth, 
and remove them to a distance, if possible ; if the 
older workera return to their respective hives to any 
great extent, few will be left to carry on the a&irs 
of the new colony, and sometimes they will almost 
cease to work for three or fonr days, until the num- 
ber is increased by those emerging from the cells, oi' 
by taking bees from some other hive to strengthen 
it. To remove new colonies of this kind to the dis- 
tance of a mile, is the most certain and least trouble. 
Let them remain until the queen becomes fertile, 
when they can be returned to the apiary. Bees unite 
very easily at the season of the year proper for 
making swarms. 

I would again caution bee-keepers, who make new 
colonies from two or more hives, to examine each 
comb with the greatest care, scrutinizing every bee 
closely to see that the old queen is left in her own 
hive. By careless handling, the queen might be 
removed from each of the old hives and placed to- 
gether in the new one, which would be a serious loss. 
It is necessary in making artiiicial swarms, to 
secure enough mature worker bees to protect the 
brood from the cold, and attend to all the domestic 
affairs of the colony. 

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Form a nucleus, or, in plain English, a small cluster, 
and when their cjueen has become fertile increase 
them from a very small to a very strong colony by 
the following process, which we have found to be 
very successful, and recommend to the favorable Con- 
sideratiou of all bee-keepers who wish to increase 
their stocks by division of artificial swarms- 
Have young queens or embryo queens ready in a 
queen nui-sery, as directed on another page. Select 
a strong colony that is breeding rapidly, having 
brood so far advanced as to be emer^ng daily from 
their cells. Spread a sheet on the ground close by 
the hive you wish to operate upon ; have new hives, 
frames, &e, in readiness; when the hive is opened 
blow a little smoke among the bees, lift out one frame 
after another, ivhich contain the combs, shake them 
down on the cloth by a quick, perpendicular motion, 
or what is safer, perhaps, for a new beginner, brush 
them off witli the feather side of a goose quill or 
other soft brush, being careful at all times to hold 
the comb in a perpendicular position, otherwise the 
weight of the comb may loosen the fastenings and 
let it fall to the gi-ound. 

"When the bees have been thus dislodged from the 
combs, select those well stored with young brood in 
an advanced stage, which are about to emerge from 
their cells ; they can be distinguished by the brown 
appearance of the caps or the sealing which incloses 
them in the cells. It will be safe to remove from 

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156 BEliS AND IjEE-KKKPlKa. 

two to four combs from one hive, provided it is 
strong, and a fair proportion of brood-combs are left 
in the old hive, which should now be replaced, the 
vacancies filled with empty frames, or what is better, 
with frames containing empty combs, if they can bo 
obtained ; close it up as usual. Take the combs 
selected to form the nucleus, and having a royal cell 
or embryo queen at hand, fit it into one of the brood- 
comba, as has been directed, and place it in a central 
position in the colony, to insure its having heat 
sufficient to fully develope it. For a bee-keeper hav- 
ing but little experience, it is best to put two frames 
together to form the nucleus ; place them at one side 
of the hive, take an empty frame with cloth tacked on 
it and set it in the space next to the outside brood- 
comb, or in an empty frame, and cover the side and 
top by suspending a cloth from the top, so as to 
inclose the nucleus in a small space, and retain their 
heat as before directed. 

"Whilst performing tbis operation, the bees that 
were shaken on the cloth will, to some extent, sepa- 
rate, mostoftheolder ones tailing wing and returning 
to the old hive, which should remain on the stand all 
the while. A majority of the younger bees will 
cluster on the sheet, where the queen is most likely 
to be found, A careful examination should be made 
for her ; when found, she should be carefully returned 
to her old home. Put a sufficient quantity of the 
bees into each hive (if more than one nucleus has been 
made), to cover and protect the brood-combs, either 
by placing them at the entrance of the new hive 

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and brushing them gently until they enter, which they 
will do readily, or you can shake them directly on 
the combs from the top ; brush them gently until all 
have descended and clustered among the combs, then 
cover with a cloth or honey-board. 

Enough combe and bees may be obtained from one 
strong, vigorous colony, to make two good nuclei, 
and leave sufficient to keep it in fair condition ; but 
should there not be enough bees to supply the nuclei, 
they can be taken from some other hive in a similar 
manner. There is no difficulty in uniting bees from 
different hives to form nuclei, at this season of the 

The new colony, or nucleus, may now be set at any 
desired place in the apiary. The entrance to tSie hive 
should be partially closed to admit of but two or 
three bees passing at a time ; this will exclude the 
eool air, and guard against robbers. 

In making colonies by this method, nearly all the 
bees that have been abroad and had their course 
estabhshed, will return to the old hive, very few re- 
maining for the nucleus, except those that are quite 
young; consequently they will work but very little, 
if at all, for a few days. It is well, during this time, 
to look in quietly and see if they are properly clus- 
tered on the brood-combs. Should many leave and 
not enough remain to keep the brood warm, replenish 
it from some strong hive, as at first. Should there 
be more bees in the nucleus than are necessary to 
cover the two combs, others should be added, as 
follovps : select a hive that has a fertile queeu and 

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168 Sees and bbe-kbepingi. 

well filled witli combs, take out one or two combs 
containing eggs and unsealed biood or larva, replacing 
them ■with empty frames; place these combs in the 
nucleus, iiret removing the frame covered with cloth, 
as before directed, and place it in the space next to 
the comb. This should only be done when there are 
eaough beea in the nucleus to cherish and mature the 
brood. They freq^uently become quite strong within 
a few days after being formed, by a large amount of 
young bees maturing and emerging from the combe. 
If the embryo queen first given to the nucleus when 
formed, should fail, they will have a fresh supply of 
eggs from which to rear another. 

When artificial awarme, or nuclei, are made in aiiy 
manner, care should always be taken to have a fair 
supply of honey and bee-bread, or pollen, in each 
one; without it, they will certainly fail to meet the 
expectations of the apiarian. 

"When the brood has emerged from any one comb 
in the nucleus, or artificial swarm, or any hive destitute 
of a fertile queen, take it out, carefully brushing off 
all the bees into the hive ; open a hive that has a 
fertile queen, take out one or more combs containing 
brood and eggs, brushing off all the bees into their 
own hive. Exchange the combs, putting those cou- 
taJning eggs and brood into the young colony, which 
will augment their numbers rapidly, by the young 
bees emerging soon after the exchange of combs ; 
thus a colony from being very small and weak, can 

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eoon be made strong and powerful. Pat the empty 
comba taken from the artificial swarm into tbe bive, 
in exchange for those taken out that were full of 
eggs and brood; the qneen will immediately com- 
mence depositiag eggs in these combs, and in a few 
days they will again be lull of brood. In this way 
I worked many of my queens tbe past season to their 
full capacity of laying eggs, which is truly astonish- 
ing during the time when honey is abundant, or 
when receiving a bountiful supply of feed, which 
stimulates her to greater activity in the performance 
of her maternal duties. 

This plan of changing combs is decidedly safer 
and mueb better than Mr. Langstroth's mode of 
changing the fertile qneen from hive to hive, aa it is 
well known that if a strange queen is placed in a 
colony, although they may have been destitute for 
some time, they are apt to fall on her and kill her, 
unless she is first put into a queen cage and kept in 
the hive for some hours, until she has obtained the 
same acent, before releasing her, when they will gen- 
erally receive her. This process is attended with 
much trouble and loss of valuable time, as well as 
uncertainty and even danger of losing the queen. 

When a nucleus comprises four or five full sized 
combs, well stored with brood, and a proportion of 
honey and pollen well covered with bees, having a 
fertile queen, they require but little further attention, 
except to remove the frame covered with cloth and 
give them one or two empty frames at a time. 
"When these are partially supplied with combs, add 

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Others until the hive is fuU; they will soon be filled 
with combs atid honey, unless the yield of honey 
should fail. 

It would be well to remark, before leaving this 
subject, that the only proper time for making artifi- 
cial swarms, by any of the plans described, is when 
they are breeding rapidly and storing honey plenti- 
fully, the weather being warm and pleasant. Should 
the honey season fail, however, before the hives are 
all filled, which frequently occurs in some localities, 
it will pay a good interest on the cost of getting 
sugar to feed them with. !Fi-om a gill to a pint of 
syrup per day to the colony, ivill keep them build- 
ing comb, rearing bi-ood, gathering pollen, &c. It 
is a singular fact, that bees will gather little if any 
pollen when no honey can be obtained abroad, al- 
though a good supply may be in the hive at the same 
time. As an evidenee of this, give a strong colony 
a few combs of honey, or a dish of syrup, in the 
afternoon of a clear,^ warm day, say about three 
o'clock, when they have ceased to carry in either 
honey or pollen, and in an incredibly short time they 
will commence to carry pollen very rapidly, showing 
that it can be obtained after the supply of honey for 
the day is exhausted. 


When a new colony is made in either way de- 
scribed, close the hive to prevent any bees from 
escaping, being careful to ventilate properly, lost 

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they smother; take them to a dry cellar, or eome 
cool out-house, let them stand quietly for from 
tweuty-four to thirty-six hours, wheu they can be 
takeu and aet on the stan<] you wish them to occupy, 
Open them invariably in the evening, a fe^v minutes 
before sunset, when but few bees are flying in the 
apiary, when they will rush out of the hive ; finding 
themselves in a new place, they will take their 
reckoning, noting carefully the objects surrounding 
their new habitation, and settle down quietly and go 
to work, very few returning to the old stand. This 
plan is convenient, easily understood, and I have 
found it to succeed very well ; yet in making artificial 
colonies, in all cases and under all circumstances, 
the older workers, that have their couree to the 
parent stand well established, are likely to return; 
and should there not be enough younger bees to con- 
tinue the operations of the new colony it would be a 
failure ; hence the neceseity of looking in upon them 
every day, disturbing them as little as possible. If 
there are not bees enough to cover the brood, open a 
strong hive, take out one or more combs, after ex- 
amining carefully that the queen is not on them, 
brush the bees into the deserted colony until you 
have enough to cover the combs, returning the 
combs from which you have brushed them to their 
own hive; close up the new colony, and remove it 
away a mile or so. This will make a sure thing of it. 

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In thickly settled localities, where bee-keepera 
reside near each other, it is necessary to feed in the 
chamber or upper part of the hive, in small pans or 
feed boxes. Get tin pans made, about 6 in. wide 
by 10 in length, sides IJ in. high, pei-pendicular ; 
if you have pieces of refuse comb, put enough in 
to cover the bottom of the pan, to serve as a float, 
keeping on the top of the syrup; this will prevent 
the bees from getting mired or drowned in the 
tempting liquid. 

When dry comb cannot be obtained for this pur- 
pose, take a piece of any soft wood, about ^ in. thick, 
cut it to iit into the pan, leaving a space around the 
edges of about ^ in.; tack a strip across the centre 
of this hoard ^ in. wide and | in. thick, this will 
keep it from capping or warping ; slit it from each 
end with a rip saw, leaving spaces between the saw 
carps of ^ in. extending to the strip nailed across 
the centre. This answers a good purpose as a float, 
and is cheap and easily made. 

When your pans are thus prepared with floats, set 
them in the chamber, either directly on top of the 
frames, or what perhaps is better, place the honey- 
board in its proper place, leaving free access to the 
chamber through the openings; set the pan near one 

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side, the end near the front, leaving a space between 
the sitlea of the pan and hive of about f inch, which 
will give the bees free access to the feed. Care 
must always be taken to keep the float loose, so as to 
rise to the surface of the syrup ; sometimes when the 
syrup \a exhausted the bees stick it (the float) fast. 
The most convenient vessel to use in the apiary for 
holding syrup for feeding, is a can made in the form 
of a watering pot, with a long spout, minus the 
strainer; the size of this can be regulated by the 
number of bees to be fed. When feeding in this 
manner, if the bees are troublesome on opening the 
door, a little smoke should be blown amongst them, 
wliieh mil drive them back, when you can proceed 
to pour in the syrup, and again close up the hive. 
No feai' need be apprehended of robbers from feed- 
ing in this manner. All well organized colonies, if 
fed with regularity, will effectually guard their hive 
from the encroachments of their marauding neigh- 
bors ; it imparts to them an astonishing degree of 
vigor and activity. 

In localities where few bees are kept, and the 
space of a mile or more intervenes between apiaries, 
the best mode of feeding is in large feed boxes; 
this, however, should be varied to suit the number 
of coioniea to be fed. For an apiary of ten colonies, 
a box i ft. long, 1 ft. wide, and sides 3 in. high, or 2 
in. deep inside. Get out stuff for box as follows: 
bottom, 1 ft. wide, 4 ft. long, cut square and joint up 
singly; side pieces, 4 ft. long, 3 in. wide; ends, 14 
in. bmg, 3 in. wide; these should be planed up to 

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make gooJ joists. Nail firmly together; take some 
melted beeswax and rosin, give it a good coating 
inside, being careful to run all the joists full ; which 
will prevent it from leakiiig, and emits no unpleasant 
odor or taate to the syrup. This should be suppHed 
with a float similar to the one described for using in 
the pans, only in size it should correspond with the 
bos. The box should be set on blocks or stools, a 
few rods from the apiary, and covered to protect it 
from hot sun and rain, but open all around, so the 
bees can have free access to it from every side. The 
syrup can be poured into this daily, as required. 

The only safe and proper manner of feeding bees, 
is to commence when there is but little honey abroad. 
Peed but little at first, increasing daily until you 
have reached the amount you wish to feed per day, 
then continue to feed with the same certainty and 
regularity that you observe in taking your meals. 
Always feed at the same hour of the day, if possible, 
and continue to do so until you find there is a supply 
of honey in the flowers abroad, when the feed 
Bhouid be slacked off by degrees, and finally stopped. 


Veiy few even of our most skillful apiarians seem 
to be aware of the advantages to be derived from 
judicious feeding, when the weather is warm and 
favorable for bees to build comb and rear brood. I 
apprehend that few have fairly tested it, hence, some 
of our best writers rather discourage bee-keepers 
from feeding to any great extent. 

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EEBDISa. 165 

I differ from all apiariana who entertain euch 
views, and am bold to affirm, that feeding in a 
proper manner, at certain eeasons of the year (and 
this varies in different localities), is the key to aue- 
cessful and profitable bee-keeping in all sections of 
the country, except where there is a continued suc- 
cession and an abundant supply of honey-producing 
flowers from early spring until froata come in the 
autumn. In making this statement, I do not confine 
myself entirely to the mode of feeding just doa- 
cribed, but would feed by enltivating lai'ge quantities 
of grain, plants or vegetables, to bloom at a time 
when little, if any, honey is accessible to the bees. 
This can be done very readily and profitably. The 
matter is discussed at length under the head of bee- 
pasturage. Chap. IS. 

I do not wish it to be understood that I ara in 
favor of feeding bees with syrup, or even an inferior 
article of honey, in such large quantities as to cause 
theiu to store it in the honey boxes as spare honey 
for market; this course would be simply perpetrating 
a fraud on the purchaser, as it is well known that 
bees merely gather honey and store it without in any 
way changing its qualitiy ; whatever substance is fed, 
remains the same, although it may be stored in the 
very whitest waxen cells. My plan is to feed them 
from the close of honey gathering from the fruit tree 
flowers (which in this latitude, 42 degrees itforth, 
occurs from the tenth to the twentieth of May), 
until the white clover comes in bloom, which is 
generally about the tenth of June ; in proportion to 

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the quantity of comb (if any) neceeeaiy to fill up the 
hive, and the amount of brood they are rearing. In 
this matter they are governed by the qnantity of 
honey or feed they get ; if but little, but few young 
bees are raised, and no eomb built, even if the hive 
is not full ; and when the clover blooms, which in a 
very large extent of country constitutes the great 
honey harvest, they are not much stronger or in but 
little better condition than at the close of the fruit 
tree flowers, although this period is the most im- 
portant of any during the season, as regards the in- 
crease of colonies either by nature or artificial 
swarms, or the amount of surplus honey obtained, 

By feeding as directed, it stimulates them to rear 
an increased amount of brood, and fill all vacancies 
with comb, "When the clover blooms they are ready 
to make the best of it, having the strongest possible 
force at a time when their labors are the most 
ef&cient and profitable, the combs being well stored 
with brood advancing to maturity, which will be cast 
off by natural swarming, or may be used for making 
artificial swarms. The combs not occupied with 
brood are likely to be well stored with honey and 
pollen. In short, by judicious feeding early in the 
season, all the stocks in the apiary may be in as 
prosperous and vigorous a condition at the begin- 
ning of the clover season as they usually are at its 

I apprehend there are but few observing apiarians 
but will admit, if this can be accomplished, the profits 
of the year would be greatly increased. Some one. 

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]?EEMM> 16T 

perhaps, is ready to ask, Won't it cost more than it 
comes to? I answer this objection by asking, Is a 
prime article of elorer honey not more valuable than 
either Westlntlia hooey or refined sugar ? It requires 
a certain amount of honey or saccharine matter for the 
consumption of the bees in the varied manipulations 
necessary to advance the colony to the desirable condi- 
tion previously referred to ; hence, is it not better and 
more profitable to supply them with a cheaper article 
at the time indicated (which will serve their purpose 
quite as well as clover honey, as we have fully at- 
tested), which is simply exchanging a cheap for a 
dear article of honey, besides saving much valuable 
time, thereby securing an increase of colonies and a 
greater yield of the best quality of surplus honey. 

Ail writers on bees agree upon this one point, that 
to be successful you must keep all your colonies 
strong; but they fail to give us satisfactory directions 
how to do this. I have experimented to find the 
solution of this enigma, and have succeeded to my 
own satisfaction, at least. It may be stated in few 
words: Feed judiciously, and you can not only keep 
your stocks strong, but if you have any weak colonies 
you can also make them strong. 

Mr. Langstroth says (3d edition, p. 177): "Bee- 
keeping, with colonies which are feeble in the spring, 
except in extraordinary seasons and localities, is 
emphatically nothing but folly and vexation of spirit," 
&e. I admit the truth of this, if left to themselves. 
But suppose we take jtist such a colony as ho con- 
templates in this extract ; we will imagine it has a 

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fertile queen, a amal! colony of workers, with a. 
limited amount of comb and honey to commence 
with. The firet of May, begin to feed it with four 
cents worth of refined sugar (in the form of a nice 
syrup,) per day, for a period of forty days, or until 
clover is fairly in bloom, say the tenth of June, This 
will cost one dollar and sixty cents, which will insure 
their filling up the hive during the clover season, 
and perhaps make eoough surplus honey during the 
buckwheat season to repay the cost of feeding, and 
leave the stock in good condition to live during the 
succeeding winter. Where stocks are strong and 
have a large quantity of honey, in the spring, take 
out one or more combs which contain only honey and 
pollen, and either give to those that are scarce or set 
by in a box, or in the honey room, until wanted 
when making artificial swarms, when they can be 
used to great advantage. They should be replaced 
immediately with empty frames. Should the weather 
be mild, the remaining combs may be shifted to put 
an empty frame in a central position, where, if they 
are fed properly, they will build a new comb in a 
veiy short time, the queen depositing eggs in the 
cells very soon after they are formed. 

AVe have often had a new comb built in this way, 
full of brood from top to bottom, containing almost 
enough to make a fair sized swarm, in eight or ten 
days; in this manner all the difficulties, if any exist, 
of a colony having too much honey in the spring, 
can be easily and very profitably removed in our 

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FEEDIN3. 169 

An interval occurs in many places between the 
clover season, which with us ends about tho tenth of 
July, until the buckwheat conies in Moora, a period 
of about a month, during which there is a very lim- 
ited supply of honey-producing flowers, consequently 
the bees make but little progress, although it is 
the best month in the year for gathering honey or 
filling up young swarms. They should be fed during 
this period, either with sugar or by artificial pas- 


"When Cuba or Southern honey can be obtained 
at moderate prices, without being adulterated, it 
serves a very good purpose for feeding ; but we pre- 
fer white sugar, or refined yellow coffee sugar, either 
of which is to a considerable extent free from acid; 
therefore no danger need be apprehended of it sour- 
ing or fermenting, even if considerable quantities 
should be stored. "Where large quantities are wanted, 
it can be bought at prices ranging from eight to 
twelve cents per pound. Dissolve this sugar in soft 
water; there is no necessity for boiling it-, if the 
sugar has been properly refined ; make it about the 
consistency of thin honey, so that by dipping the 
finger in, it will drop clear without roping. This 
should be prepared in quantities to correspond with 
the number of stocks to be fed. In a large apiary, 
it should be prepared by the barrel for convenience, 
and kept closely covered to prevent the bees from 
getting in and being drowned, which they will do if 
access can be had to it. In preparing this syrup, it 

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ahonld be stirred until tlie sugar is thoroughly dis- 
solved, when it is ready to feed in the pans or boxes, 
aa has been directed on another page. Some colonies 
are alow to find their way to it ; by dropping a little 
on or among the beea, and extending a train to the 
pan, will give them a clew to it, which they are not 
slow to follow. "When feeding in a box some dis- 
tance from the apiary, it is aOme times necessary to 
expose a little honey, which will attract them, it 
having a greater scent than tlie syrup ; when they 
have once found the way there is no further trouble. 
Feed them their allowance regularly every day, until 
there ia a good aupply of honey abroad, when the 
quantity should be reduced daily and finally discon- 
tinued, to be resumed again when the honey season 
fails. Feeding should cease entirely by the fifteenth 
of October. If bees have been properly cared for thus 
far, all stocks will be strong and vigorous, with plenty 
of honey for the coming winter. 

The great importance of feeding bees has been 
noticed by several authors, but it aeema the advan- 
tages to bo derived from feeding largely in the 
manner and for the purposes for which we recom- 
mend it, have been entirely overlooked. We find 
most writers on this subject suggest the feeding 
of weak swarms in the fall, tbe general result of 
which is only to prolong their existence a little time, 
aa they are very apt to die before apring. If the 
embryo queens have been removed soon after the 
first swarm issued, as has been directed, thereby pre- 
venting any after-awarms, the stocks having been 

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properly fed during the interval in the honey harvest, 
there is no necessity of having feeble stocks in the 
fall from those permitted to swarm in the natural 
way ; and when propagated by artificial swarms, if 
the directions given under the head of "how to 
strengthen artificial swarms" are followed, there 
should be no weak colonies from this source, cither ; 
hence, there is but little necessity for feeding late in 
the fall, but early in the spriug and during every, 
interval in the honey harvest throughout the entire 
season, until nature ceases to produce flowers, keep- 
ing them constantly advancing and improving, until 
tlie change of the. season admonishes them to cease 
rearing hrood and prepare for winter. As the stock 
raiser keepa his stock thriving and constantly im- 
proving, well knowing that if they cease to advance 
OP are permitted to retrograde, a serious loss is in- 
evitably incuri'ed ; so is it vrith bees. If they are 
permitted to go backward, or even come to a stand- 
still, at any period from the opening of spring until 
the middle of September, a serious loss is the inevi- 
table result. 


The celebrated Dr. Bevan seems to have under- 
stood, to some extent, the advantages of feeding. I 
quote from his work, page 67 : " Toward the middle 
of February, or as soon as the bees come freely forth, 
it will be advantageous to treat them with one of the 
above compounds (feed), which as I have already 
observed, will tend to promote early breeding, and 
may sometimes obviate the death of the first brood ; 

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and for tlie sake of early Bwarraing this is the most 
important. This bounty should be continued, to the 
amount of about a tablespooiiful a day, till the bees 
disregard tt, which will be as eoon as the flowers 
affoM a supply of honey." This is a much less 
amount than I recommend, yet its eft'ccta seem to 
have been very perceptible. 

Tlie same author continues : " I have spoken of the 
different extent to which food should be administered 
in spring and autumn ; but circumstances may occur 
in which, the treatment of bees in spring should be 
assimilated to that of autumn. Peburier gives some 
striking instances of this. The weather in February, 
1810, having been very mild, the bees about Ver- 
sailles, in reliance upon its continuance, were in a 
state of great forwardness with their brood ; but the 
temperature afterward became cold, and continued 
so, till the store of honey in some hives was exhausted, 
and nearly so in all. Two neighbors of his adopted 
opposite lines of conduct on this occasion : one fed 
his bees liberally, the other not at all; whilst Feb- 
urier himself, with an ill-judged economy, adopted a 
middle course. The result was remarkable and 
highly instructive. The neighbor who fed not at 
all lost three-fourths of his families : out of twenty- 
two stocks Feburier lost two, the remainder swarmed 
very late, and some of the swarms were very feeble, 
insomuch that in the autumn he lost two more from 
the ravages of the wax moth ; whilst the liberal feeder 
saved all his old stocks, and his first swarms issued 
BO early as to be succeeded by several strong af'ter- 

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swarms; and the bees throughoiit bis apiary were so 
vigOTOUs that they defended themselves successfully 
against the wax moths, by which three of his hives 
were attacked." 

Mr. Quinby seems to think feeding should be a 
last resort, and if fed at all, it should only be for the 
purpose of preventing starvation. I think it quite 
possible that further experience on this point, and liis 
better judgment, will ere long cause him to review 
the chapter on feeding beea in his valuable work, and 
very materially change it. 

There is, in my estimation, quite as much propriety 
in permitting a horse or a cow to go without feed for 
a time previous to the coming of grass in the spring, 
to ascertain how near it would come to starving to 
death, without actually doing so, as it would be to 
permit a colony of bees to arrive so near the point of 
atai-vation ; and although it may be ti'iie, that mauj' 
bee-keepers, perhaps a majority, are too careless or 
too indolent to avail themselves of the advantages of 
feeding, it argues nothing against the system. There 
are those, and the number will mpidly iucre^e, who 
can and will feed judiciously, and make it profitable. 

The experience I have had during the last two 
years, in feeding bees, in California, has been of 
great importance to me, and may be to others here- 
after. But perhaps some one is ready to exclaim: 
Why do you feed bees in California ? I have heard a 
great deal about the immense quantities of honey- 
producing flowers, the copious honey dews that fall 
there, the large yields of sui'plua honey from stocks 

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174 BEF.H AMU BLK-iiliKPlXU. 

of beea, the vast increase of swarms, &c. and j'et j'oii 
say you feeil your bees even in California, in tlio 
midst of all this profusion of honey from natural 

Yes, this is all true of California, It is one of the 
finest honey-pTOdueing States on this continent, and 
one of the most salubrioue clinics for the profitable 
culture of the honey bee. The eeaaona are long, 
the winters mild, and there is a good succession of 
honey-produeing flowers thronghout the season ; and 
yet, notwithstanding all these favorable eircum- 
stauces, intervals in the honey harvest are of fre- 
quent oceuri-ence. SoraoEimcs for a few days only, 
at other times for weeks, but little if any honey can 
bo obtained fram the flowers; the bees will cease to 
build any combs, and rear but little if any more 
brood than was under way when the supply of honey 
failed, and even a portion of this is sometimes 
abandoned. Thus they not only cease to advance but 
actually retrograde, for as soon as the houey fails 
abroad they consume of that stored for winter use, 
besides losing much valuable time, I made it a 
point to feed liberally at all times, when there was 
any scarcity of honey abroad. The mode was, to 
feed promiscuously, by putting the syrup into large 
feed boxes, as has been described, set a few rods 
from the apiary. Feeding will always excite bees 
to greater activity; but it gave us no trouble from 
quarreling or robbing, which sonic authors seem so 
much to fear. 

The strong and the weak partook Just iu propor- 

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tion to tlii3 iiiiniber of bees which each colony con- 
tained. I would mention, that our principal apiary 
was about a mile from where any other bees were 
kept. The result was liighly gratifying. From each 
imported colony, which in the spring was both small 
in iiiiantity of combs, and weak in bees, we had an 
average increase of over five swarms during the past 
summer, all in good condition for wintering. It 
would have been quite impossible to have obtained 
such results in one season by any other system, from 
such small stocks. A majority of the imported col- 
onies did not average over a quart of bees on the first 
of March, with an average of about 525 square inches 
of comb, or enough to fill the hives one-third. The 
most that could have been realized from auch stocks 
in one season, without feeding, would have heen to 
double the stock, and have them all in fair condition 
for wintering. 

First class stocks, that stood over winter full of 
combs well stored v,-ith honey and pollen, having a 
strong, healthy and vigorous swann of bees, say the 
first of March, can be increased in California to five or 
six during the season, without feeding; but if fed 
properly they can he augmented quite as easily to ten 
or twelve; so that the difference is veiy considerable 
in favor of feeding, even in one of the very best honey 
growing districts in America ; and it would bo miich 
more so in all districts of country where the honey 
harvest is reduced to but a few weeks, as is the case 
in most of the Eastern and Middle States. 

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I had an opportanity of witnessing the effects of 
feeding as contrasted with non-feeding, in a very 
striking manner the past season in Califoi-nia, Two 
gentlemen, whom I shall call H. and E., in the city 
of Sacramento, bought twenty-five hives of bees from 
us in December, 1858; in April following they be- 
gan to divide them, or make artificial swarms ; and 
having had but little experience as bee-keepei-s, they 
fell into the oitop common to the inexperienced ; they 
spread them out too thin, or in other words, attempted 
to increase them faster than the condition of the 
stocks and the amount of honey being gathered at 
the time would justify. As a natuml conseciuence, 
they nearly ruined many of their colonies. When 
the bees found the supply of honey tailing in the 
fields, and the stores at home rcdneed by being 
divided into small nuclei, they apparently became 
discouraged, many deserted their brood, which after- 
\Fard had to be removed, and all the stocks in the 
apiary came to a dead stand-stlU. Whilst in this 
dilemma, Messrs. H. and R. applied to us for advice. 
The difficulty was easily understood, and the remedy 
a.t once suggested itself; simply to get refined sugar, 
reduce it to a syrup, and feed. Other bees were 
kept near them, and not being disposed to feed their 
neighbors' stocks, we suggested that they get pans 
or boxes made in the manner we have described in 
another place, and feed in the chamber or upper part 
of the hive. They at once acted upon these sug- 
gestions, and commenced feeding inside the hive, 

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from lialf a pint to a pint of syrnp per day to each 
colony, ill proportion to the size of the colony. The 
ofieet Wiis magical ; confidence seemed to be restored ; 
tlicy were ciicoui-uged to proceed with the various 
manipulations necessary for the development of 
strong, vigoraus colonies; feeding was continued 
Avheuever a scarcity of honey occurred. The result 
was very satisfactory, having a large increase of col- 
onies during the season, all in good condition for 

Two bee-keepers in Yuba county, California, in 
the spi-ing of 1859, had a pretty large stock of bees 
in partnership; they began increasing the number 
by division, or artificial swarms, and continued doing 
so rapidly. All went well so long as the honey 
harvest continued ; when that failed, the bees, having 
but a small amount in store, which was soon con- 
sumed, abandoned their brood, which perished, and 
was pronounced foul brood, resulting in a heavy 
loss to the owners, before the return of a honey 
harvest. Those that survived seemed much less vig- 
orous than those that wei-e fed. The difference in 
the final result of the year's operation, as eompai'ed 
with those fed properly, was more than one-half. 

Some one may be ready to suggest at this point, 
that if they had not been divided, the difficulty re- 
ferred to had not occurred. Well, perhaps it would 
not. But let us see how those in the common box 

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hive progressed during tins time, and compare the 
increaso during the season. I have a ease at point. 

A man in Sacramento City, in the autumn or 
winter of 1858, bought ten common box or chamber 
hives of bees, for which he paid one thousand dollars. 
The following spring, one of his neighbors advised 
him to transfer them into our niovable comb hive ; his 
reply was, No, sir ; I will try no experiments until I 
get my money back. I expect each one of my hives 
to ewarm at least three times, making thirty young 
swarms, or forty in all. Had this expectation been 
realized, it would have been a pretty good year's 
work; but a change of weather at a critical period 
spoiled all this nice calculation. The weather, up to 
about the middle of April, continued very fine ; a few 
swarms came off at different points. One hive, per- 
haps, in fifteen or twenty having swarmed, it was 
thought the swarming season had fairly set in ; the 
hopes and anticipations of bee-keepers wlio were 
depending on natural swarms to increase their stock, 
ran very high. An examination of the hives dis- 
closed the fact, that all strong stocks had, or were 
busily engaged making the necessary preparations for 
swarming, by rearing young queens; drones were 
plenty ; many of the strong stocks had a pretty good 
sized swarm clustered outside of the hive ; honey 
was being stored plentifully; every thing seemed 
prosperous. But a change came over their dreams. 
The weather, from being warm and fine, changed to 
cold, with very high winds, common to California, 
and continued for a period of eight or ten days. The 

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i'EEDIKfl. 1T9 

constant drying winds seemed to exhaust the honey 
from the flowei-s as fast as it was generated, or par- 
tially blighted them, so that but little was produced 
during this time for the beea to gatlier, even wlien 
they were able to go abroad for a few hours. The 
beea, true to their instinct, finding the yield of 
honey cut off and tlie weather ao cold, windy and 
unfkvorabie, commenced killing their drones, and 
destroyed indiscriminately all the embryo queens 
that were in transitu from the egg to the perfect 
insect. This prottj'^ effectually closed the awnrrniiig 
for the season. The lot of bees to which I refer, 
although they did better than many others, shared 
the same fate. The result was an increase of six or 
seven swarms up to the latter part of July, past the 
usual swarming season (hia beea continued to cluster 
on the outside of the hive), when, as I have since 
learned, ho had them transferred into movable frame 
hives, and divided. 

Thus we find the same cause operated to the sei-i- 
ous injury of the bees in both cases, with this 
difi'erence; in the case of dividing, if the old hive 
was reduced too much, there was danger of losing 
all; in the other, the old atoek was stiil strong 
and vigorous, and would probably store considerable 
supplies of honey in the latter part of the season; 
but in either or in both cases, a few days careful 
feeding would have obviated all this trouble and loss, 
keeping them encouraged until the return of good 
weather and a supply of honey from the fields. 
Some of my readers may argue, that it may pay to 

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feed beea in California, where tliey are worth a hun- 
dred dollars a hive, but it won't pay here, where the 
price of bees and honey is so much less. To this 
objection I would say, try it in any place where beea 
are kept. During a scarcity of honey, don't feed for 
two or three days and then quit, but feed a portion 
every day when no honey is obtained abroad, tor one 
season, and if the results are not highly favorable 
(the cost being but tnfling), cease to feed forever 

Langstroth sa.ys, give him but plenty of good dry bee 
combs, and he has found the very philosopher's stone 
ill bee keeping, I confess they are very valuable. I 
would change this a little, however, and say, give 
me plenty of honey, or saocharine matter of suitable 
quality to feed with, and I ivill have a charm worth 
two of his. With it I can make both bees and combs 
in abundance; without it, he may have the combs 
but no bees, which would not be so very valuable. 

I trust my readers will bear with me for devoting 
BO mucji space to this one point in bee-keeping, and 
in e^cSftiding this part of my subject, I venture 
the prediction that time will fully demonstrate the 
fact, that to make bee-keeping profitable in well 
settled countries, it will be quite as necessary to pro- 
vide them with food, in the manner described, or by 
raising flowers to fill those intervals in the honey 
harvest to which I have referred, as it is to provide 
feed during a certain portion of the year for our 

The prominent points in this chapter are original, 

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ri:i-:nixd. 181 

being the result of my experience and observation 
therefore they are open for criticism. If any apia- 
rian who may chance to read it, doubta the utility of 
the position taken in rGgai"d to feeding, I would be 
glad to have him refute it ; not by words or theories, 
but by experiment, for not less than two seasons, in 
such a manner as to fuJly test it ; not for the purpose 
of keeping the bees from starving, but to keep them 
constantly advancing and improving from the early 
spring until the close of the buckwheat season, 
which with us is about the middle of September. I 
am well aware that other authors have recommended 
feeding, but apparently for other purposes, and at 
other times than those I suggest and recommend. 
Dr. Bevan is, I believe, the only one that has hinted 
at the propriety of feeding in this way, and I trust 
this may at least serve to call attention to this im- 
portant point, and prompt to careful experiments in 
this direction. 


As it is quite improbable that all bee-keepeiscwhc 
may chance to read this treatise will adopt the use 
of our hive, or indeed avail themselves of the advan- 
tages of any movable comb hive, however great the 
facilities they may present for the skillful and profit- 
able management of their bees, prefen'ing the old 
box hive, either with or without boxes, to obtain 
surplus honey ; it may not be amiss to give some sug- 
gestions in regard to their proper care. 

The same general management of bees -will hold 

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182 liEKri ASfi IJEE-KEEMNG. 

good with all kinds of hives, with this exception '. 
in movable comb hives, and ail that class of hives 
used for increasing bees by dividing or artificial 
swarms, a condition of things is brought about quite 
different from that natuiullj'- existing in the eommoii 
hive, where bees are left to take their own couree, 
being permitted to swarm in the natural way, when 
the season and surrounding circumstances are favor- 
able for this important event. It not nnfreqnently 
happens, during some seasons, that although bees 
swarm hut little, if any, yet iu the latter part of the 
season they store a very large amount of surplus 
honey, thereby realizing a handsome income to the 
bee-keeper upon his investment, although his stocks 
may not bo increaaed. 

Early in the spring, examine yoar stocks carefully, 
remove al! the dead bees and filth of all kinds from 
the bottom-board of the hive, or the board on which 
they stand, if open at the bottom ; repeat this clean- 
ing operation every few days, until the bees become 
so numerous as to occupy all the spaces between and 
around the lower edges of the combs, when they will 
geuei-ally keep themselves free from any further ac- 
cumulation of filth. They should be fed in the 
chamber or upper part of the hive, as directed in 
another chapter, being careful to feed with great 
regularity. If the hives arc strong and reasonably 
heavy, but a small amount need be fed each day. 
Toward the latter part of April it would be well to 
blow a little smoke under the hives, and turn them 
upside down and examine the combs ; if any of them 

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Ft;EI3IN(S 183 

are found to be thick and black, a aaiall poi'tion 
should be cut oft'. Few if any iiivea need pruning 
until the fifth or sixth year from the time the swarm 
was put into the hive (those who advocate the renew- 
ing or new comb system, to the contrary notwith- 
standing), and then it is only necessary to cut say 
five or six inclies off the lower ends of the eomba in 
which the greatest number of young bees have been 
raised. The store combs, and oven a part of the 
brood combs, may be used a much longer time, par- 
ticularly the upper part. I have seldom found it 
necessary to prune off more than one-third of the 
combs at once, the first time we prune a hive, say six 
inches in height. Oorabs thus renewed will do very 
well for four or five years longer, when they siionld 
be cut off up to the point whore the honey and brood 
meet. The uppef partof the combs, for two orthree 
inches in depth from the top, if the hive is twelve or 
fifteen inches in lieight in the clear, is generally kept 
full of honey, unless in a season of great scarcity. 
Combs so used will do very well for a long time for 
the purposes required. I know of several hives 
having such combs in, but little less than twenty 
years old, that have been and now are good, thrifty 
and productive stocks; the combs principally used 
for breeding in have been pruned in the manner 
described perhaps three times during that period. It 
is a great errof to suppose that combs should be cut 
out and renewed every year, or even every three or 
four yeai-s. If the hives are kept well covered and 
shaded from the sun during hot weather, bees will 

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live and do well for a much longer time tlmn many 
writers would have us believe. 

To prune iu the mauner I have described, early in 
the spring, be careful to feed, which will induce the 
bees to build new combs to fill up the vaoauey ; in a 
short time all will be fall again. 

I find, in choosing the time for prunitig, my expe- 
rience differs from Mr. Quinby's. Perhaps this arises 
from the fact of his wintering bees in the house, 
which I cannot approve of or recommend for general 
practice, tor reasons given in another place. As cold 
weather approaches, bees cluster pretty near the 
lower end of the brood combs ; this is generally 
where the last brood emerges, where the empty cells 
are found, if there are any in the hive. As winter 
advances the bees ascend higher and higher, just in 
proportion as they consume the honey from the upper 
edge of their cluster. "When spring opens, we gen- 
erally find the main body of the cluster over two- 
thirds of the distance from bottom to top of the 
combs. This is when they commence to rear 
brood largeiy, although they may have had some for 
weeks or months previouslj-, yet as it emerges the 
cluster moves steadily upward ; hence, on the appear- 
ance of warni weather, in the spring, quite enougii 
combs are empty in the lower part of the hive tu 
permit pruning without interfering with the brood 
or eggs. Probably it would be otherwise with bees 
wintered in a warm room. 

But little now re.naina to be done until the swarm- 
ing season arrives, except to put on the honey boxes 
on the approach of the clover season. 

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The swamiing season, when boes are in a flourish- 
ing condition, as they invariably should be, having 
obtained sufficient food, either naturally or artificially 
to make them so, is one of gi'eat excitement and of 
peculiar interest to the bee-keepers, both naturally 
and pecuniarily. 

Now that the mode of propagating and iucreMing 
bees rapidly by division, or by making artificial 
swarms in the manner heretofore described, is be- 
coming so well understood, and I have no doubt will 
be generally practiced by all w-ho cultivate bees 
either for pleasure or profit, as by this means they 
can secure an increase of stocks iu such numbers 
and at such times as may best suit them, by exercis- 
ing proper judgment and taking due care to feed 
when a scarcity of honey occurs; I conclude that 
this mode will very materially lessen the interest of 
natural swarming. 

The habits and instincts of tlio honey bee, their 
peculiar wants and requirements, are becoming so 
well known, dispelling the mystery and superstition 
that has been so closely associated with and obscured 
bees and bee-keeping for so many ages past, that as 
the morning sun dispels the mist and fogs of the 
valley, thus ere long will it be freed from these 
deleterious influences, and stand forth as the noblest 
of the insect creation, silently leaching mankind 


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lesaona of harmony, industry and perseverance. 
The cultivation of honey bees is destined ere long to 
be one of the Hiost important and profitable branches 
of rural economy. 


In this latitude (42 degrees K.) some years ago, 
when there was a good supply of wild honey-pro- 
ducing fiowGi's blooming early in May, making a 
continuous supply of honey from the opening of the 
first fi'uit tree flowers until the closing of the clover 
season, swarming began as early as the twentieth 
of May, and continued in good seasons until July, or 
near the close of the clover season. 

The value that was attached to swarms issuing at 
the dift'erent periods, may be illustrated by a little 
rhyme, which an old Scotch friend of our family 
taught me, when a very small boy ; it ran as follows : 

As the country has been improved, and the for- 
ests cut down, the quantity of wild fiowers has been 
reduced each year, until there is now a period of 
from two to four weeks, from the close of honey 
gathering from the fruit trees until the white clover 
comes in bloom, during which time a very small 
amount of honey can be obtained, although this is 
the most critical part of the year. More bees starve 
during tins time than all the rest of the year, at 
least in this region of country. This may seem 
strange to some of my readers, nevertheless it is a 

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i'dct. I accoaiit for it in this way : many stocks that 
are tolerably strong, with but a moderate quantity 
of lioiiey from the previous year, when the fruit 
trees expand their flowers, fiudiiig a copious supply 
of honey, arc induced to commence rearing a large 
amount of brood, A change of weather may soon 
occur, such as to prevent the bees from getting the 
fall benefit of the honey from this source, which is 
of very common occurrence at this season of the 
year ; the supply on hand is soon exhausted by the 
greatly increased demand to supply the brood. If 
they are not relieved at this stage, they either die 
miserably at their post, or some warm day swarm 
out, abandoning their brood, and attempt to unite 
with some other stock that seems to have proriaion 
still in store. Sometimes they are kindly received, 
at others massacred without pity. 

Even the colonies that have a fair supply of honey 
in store, become discouraged by the unfavorable con- 
dition of the weather, and have nothing to stimulate 
them; large quantities are lost in cool, windy days, 
when abroad vainly attempting to secure a portion 
of honey whilst the fruit trees are in bloom. The 
loss of bees in this way is about equal to the gain of 
young ones emerging from the cells, so that we find 
them at the beginning of the clover season in but 
little if any better condition than they were at the 
close of fruit tree fiowers. These difficulties may be 
easily, overcome, to a very great extent at least, by 
supplying them with feed, or providing a supply of 
flowers to fill this interval ; consequently, swarms 

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now seldom come forth before the twentieth of Jmie, 
in this region of country, unless in some fnvorable 
locality where a supply of wild honey-producing 
flowers still exists. There are one or two sncli 
places a few miles distant from my residence, whei'e 
the bees keep up the good old practice of swarming 
in the latter part of May or first of June, notwith- 
standing the advent of the bee or wax moth, and 
the change of times and things elsewhere. This, I 
conceive, is pretty strong evidence of the great ad- 
vantage to be derived from an abundant supply of 
food, natnrally or artificially, from early spring until 
the clover season. 

The time of swarming is varied in proportion to 
the latitude and ch-eumataneeB, such as have just 
been referred to. In California the swarming season 
usually commences early in April ; some seasons a 
few swarms come off in the latter part of March, but 
this is the exception, not the rule. First swarms 
frequently fill up their hive and send off one or 
more swarms the same season ; but even there they 
are governed by the yield of honey, kind of weather, 
&c. the same as here. 

All the principal bee-keepers in California have 
adopted artificial swarming, and seem to prefer it 
to natural swarming for increasing their stocks, as 
being more cei'taiii and profitable in its results. It 
is to the interest of bee-keepers to investigate the 
matter closely, and compare the results of the two 
systems, in or-dor to adopt the best. "Where bees sell 
readily at one hundred dollars per hive (as has been 

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the case ever since bees were introdQeecl into Cali- 
fornia), the ditfereiice of a hive or two, more or less, 
is quite an important item ; hence the decision and 
the experience of the California apiarians upon this 
point is worthy of serious and careful consideration 
bj all who are or expect to be engaged in bee-keep- 
ing. Where dollars and cents in such large quan- 
tities are so temptingly arrayed before the skillful 
importers, propagators and dealers in bees, it is very 
safe to conclude that the shortest road to wealth will 
be adopted by the majority; the most certain and 
expeditious method of tuereasing bees, and keeping 
them in the most flourishing condition, will be sought 
out and practiced ; and all prejudice and fanciful 
ideas will be laid aside for the purpose of acquiring 
the mighty dollaiv 

I think facts justify me in supposing that greater 
advances have been made by the California bee- 
keepers, within the last three years, to acquire and 
perfect a thoroughly practical and reliable system for 
the management of bees, to obtain the greatest in- 
crease of stocks and the largest yield of surplus honey 
in any ^ven period of time, than has been made in 
all the other States of the Union during the last half 
century. This may seem somewhat paradoxical; if 
so, just reflect for a moment that bees at one hundred 
dollai-s per colony, and honey at one dollar per pound, 
is a great temptation to seek for knowledge in bee- 
keeping; in fact, it has been sought with gi-eater 
assiduity than the world has ever before seen in 

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Authors do i:ot agree as to the cause of bees 
swarming. Some suppose it to be for want of room, 
others think thej swarm to avoid the conflieta of 
the queen, whilst yet others advocate still different 
theories ; but all such theories, I apprehend, are at 
fault. I have ever believed swarming to be in strict 
accordance with the fiat of the Almighty maker of 
the universe, who said, " Gro forth and multiply, and 
replenish the earth." I am far from supposing it to 
be the result of any forced or unnatural cause, but as 
simply the instinct given them as a means of extend- 
ing and perpetuating their species ; in fact, in a state 
of nature it could not possibiy be dispensed with; 
without this means of reproduction the species would 
soon become extinct. 


When stocks are strong, the bees cluster to the 
bottom of the combs, and sometimes on the outside. 
It is necessary there should be a good supply of honey 
abroad in the fields. A top swarm need never be 
expected wheii there is a scarcity of honey. ^Nature 
has taught them the danger and folly of attempting 
to emigrate, and set up house-keeping in a new place, 
without the assurance of obtaining a fair supply of 
provision; inHeed, so generally do thej' observe this 
precautions, that it almost amounts to the power of 
reasoning. Warm weather is also necessary for their 
coming forth. - I have frequently known them to 
swarm when the sun was partially obscured by clouds, 

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the atmosphere being warm and fiuo ; iu fact, I have 
thought that a warm day with occasional aliowers, 
the Hun Bliiuing brightly at intervals, is a favorite 
time for swarma to come off. They seldom attempt 
to swarm when it ia cool and windy, 

Bonner, who is a very reliable author, remarks on 
this point: "Some swarms will lie ont long before 
they Bwarm, though they will swann at last ; others, 
although they lie out equally long, will not swarm at 
all; a third class will swarm without the smallest 
previous appearance, and a fourth will make a bustle 
about their doors for three or four days before they 
swarm ; and therefore, from such a variety of chances, 
it is scarcely possible to determine the precise time 
of swarming, especially by young beginners in bee- 
husbandry, A constant attendance is necessary in 
swarming time, from eight o'clock in the morning 
until about three or four iu the afternoon ; and this 
needs only to be done in fine warm days, as the bees 
seldom send out a colony in cold or chilly weather." 

But -this is not all that is necessary. Embryo 
queens are always in a state of forwardness to supply 
the old hive, as the old queen invariably leaves with 
the first swarm, and to provide qaeens for any after- 
swarms. I cannot better describe the process than 
by quoting from the " Mysteries of JBee-kceping," by 
Ml-. Quiuby, who is good authority on this point: 


" I have found the process for all regular swarma 
something like this : Before tliey commence, two oi 

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three things are requisite. The comba must be 
crowded with bees; they must contain a numerous 
brood advancing from the egg to maturity ; tlie bees 
must be obtaining honey, either by being fed or from 
flowers. Being crowded with beea in a scarce time 
of honey ia insufficient to bring out the swarm, 
neither ia an abundance sufficient, without the bees 
and the brood. The period that all these requisites 
happen together, and remain long enough, will vary 
with different stocks, and many times do not happen 
at all through the season, with some. 

"These causes then appear to produce a few queen 
cells, generally begun before the hive is filled." 


" They are about lialf finished, when they receive 
the eggs ; as these eggs hatch into larva, others are 
begun, and receive eggs at different periods for sev- 
eral days later. The number of such cells seem to 
be governed by the prosperity of the bees ; when the 
family is numerous and the yield of honey abundant, 
they may amount to twenty, at other times perhaps 
not more than two or three ; although several such 
cells may remain empty. I have already said that a 
failure (or even a partial one,) in the yield of honey 
at any time from the depositing of the royal eggs till 
the sealing of the cells (which is about ten days), 
would be likely to bring about their destruction. 
Even after being sealed, I have found a few instances 
where they were destroyed." 

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'*BLit when there ia nothing precarious about the 
boriey, the se:tling of these cells ia the time to expect 
the first swarm, which will geiicrally issue the first 
fair day after one or more are finished. I never 
missed a prediction for a swarm forty-eight hours, 
when I have judged from these signs, in a prosperous 
season, "When tliere is a partial failure of honey, 
the swarm sometimes will wait several days after 
finishing them." 

The surest plan is to occasionally examine the con- 
dition of the queen cells, about the time swarms are 
expected. This is readily accomplished in our im- 
proved movable comb hives, by simply lifting out 
the frames containing the combs ; but it can be done 
in any kind of box hive or gum, by first blowing 
emoke under the hive; when the bees are driven 
back a little, invert it, repeating the smoking opera- 
tion occaBioiiatly, to drive the bees from the lower 
ends of the combs, where the queen celis are usually 
found. These cells are of an oblong circular form, 
of considerable thickness, and in appearance rather 
clumsy; when half made they are not unlike the 
lower part of an acorn turned upside down ; they are 
gradually lengthened as the royal lan'a increases in 
size, and when finished and sealed up, which, as Mr. 
Quinby states, is about ten days from the egg, are 
about an inch in length and resemble the end of 
one's little finger, minus the nail, and are generally 
suspended in a perpendicular form from the comb. 
When queen cells are thus prepared watch your bees 

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carefully, as without a change of weather a 
will issue ere long. 


If, when the foregoing preparations are made, in 
the morning of a warm, calm day, you observe one 
or more strong stocks in the apiary, from which few 
bees are going forth to the fields in search of honey, 
whilst other colonies are busily at work, it is a pretty 
strong symptom of swarming during the day. Ob- 
servations I have made lead me to think, that the 
cause of this seeming inactivity is, that they are en- 
gaged in the interior of the hive taking in provisions, 
simply packing their trunks for the voyage ; as moat 
authors agree that they fill their sacs with honey 
before the swarm issues. Here, again, their instinct 
amounts almost to the point of reasoning, for in ease 
of a delay in finding a suitable home to shelter them, 
or if a sudden change in the weather should occur 
soon after it was safely lodged in its new home, so 
as to prevent them from going forth to gather the 
needed supplies from the fiowers, starvation and the 
utter destruction of the swarm would be the result ; 
hence the importance of taking a supply of provi- 
sions before emigrating. 

Another indication is the generally excited appear- 
ance of the bees about the entrance of the hive, 
running to and fro in eveiy direction ; some reeling 
around in small circles in front and above the hive, 
apparently anxious for the important event to take 

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place, when suddenly tlie advance guard rushes forth 
with hurried steps, immediately taking wing and 
mounting into the air, making a sharp, shi-iU sound, 
which can easily be distinguished from those engaged 
in their usual labor; when, hark! the joyful cry is 
raised by those on watch : The bees are swarming ! 
which generally produces as much excitement in the 
bee-keeper's family aa I have described as occurring 
ill the bee faniilv. 

It has already been remarked, that a column or 
stream of bees rushes forth with the utmost precipi- 
tation. I have on several occasions carefully observed 
during this process, to see if the queen leads the 
Bwarm, or is the Urst to leave the hive, aa many 
authors have led us to believe, but am satisfied this 
is not correct. At various times I observed her 
majesty come out of the hive greatly excited, and run 
around on the alighting board, or on the side of the 
hive, and again pass into the hive, apparently bewil- 
dered, or being fearful of taking wing; in a few 
moraents she would again make her appearance out- 
side of the hive. During all this time the bees were 
niahiug out and taking wing with the greatest fury, 
until the air for a considerable space around and 
above the hive was completely filled with bees, cir- 
cling around in every directJoTi. This operation was 
repeated several times before she took wing, by which 
time most of the swarm had left, and instead of the 
queen being the first to leave, she was almost the 

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!ast. On one or two occasions I saw her drop down 
to the ground, on weeds or grass in front of the hive, 
Boeniingly unable to mount up into the air, where, 
if left to herself, she would most likely have perished, 
had the returning swarm not discovered her, when 
they immediately commenced clustering around her. 
In the year 1855, one of our stocks sent forth a 
Bwarm, which, after circling around for some time, 
returned again to the hive from whence it came. It 
repeated this operation the nextday. I happened to 
be some distance from the apiary each time the 
swarm was rapidly returning. When I arrived, I ex- 
amined carefully in front of the hive until I felt 
pretty certain the (^ueen had not dropt down on her 
first attempt to fly ; hence I concluded she remained 
in the hive, and suspected that from some cause she 
was unable to fly. To satisfy myself upon this point, 
I determined to watch the next day about the time 
they were likely to make the third attempt. I had 
but a short time to wait until the swarm again began 
rushing out. After watching for a few moments, a 
large portion of the swarm having gone forth, the 
queen came rushing out, first running up the side of 
the hive, then down and around on the alightiii<!.- 
board, in front of the hive, to and fro, very nmcli 
excited, but made no attempt to fly. I at once 
discovered one of her wings was deficient. Mean- 
while the bees kept rushing out as though their very 
lives depended on their speed, apparently unconscious 
of the presence of the queen; in fact, in their hurry 
they passed over and around her with the same indii- 

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ference they woulct if she had been any other object 
of a similar size. I now lifted the hive from its 
stand, set it a little to one aide, and put the new 
hive in which I designed putting the swarm, in its 
plaoe, still keeping my eye on the motions of the 
queen, who was running around on the alighting 
board, wliere a number of bees remained. In a few 
minutes the swarm began to return to their old home, 
as they supposed, having discovered, no doubt, that 
their queen was not with them ; they immediately 
commenced entering the new hive, in company with 
the queen, rejoicing at finding her and a new home 
at the same time. In a few minutes the swarra 
had nearly all entered the hive, when I removed 
it to a new stand and set the old bivo back in its 
place again, when all seemed prosperous and happy. 
Since that time I have twice had occasion to repeat 
this experiment, with similar results. From these 
and other facts which will be noticed in their proper 
place, I conclude that the queen, although absolutely 
necessary to the welfare of the swarm, is very far 
from leading and directing it with that pomp and 
queenly authority that has been so graphically de- 
scribed and dwelt upon by some authors ; but on the 
contrary, facts justify me in believing that in swarm- 
ing, as in many other things, the queen is governed 
or prompted to do or not to do certain things, by the 
common worker bees. This, I am aware, is assuming 
new ground, and contrary to the opinion of all authors 
I have consulted ; hence I ask a careful examination 
upon this point. 

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198 lit:iiS ANlt BEE-liliEPIiS9. 

Bonner, in describing the process of sivanning, 
saya : " Nothing can surely be more delightful to the 
bee-master than to behold the young emigrants flying 
in the air and darkening the sky with a thousand 
varying lines, passing hither and thither in every 
direction." It is, indeed, surprising to see the young 
colony leaving their mother hive, deserting it in the 
utmost hurry and precipitation, insomuch that they 
can hardly clear the way for each other. A stranger 
to the nature of these wonderful insects would be apt 
to conclude that there was some formidable enemy 
within, who was murdering them by wholesale, and 
from whom they were flying for their lives ; or else 
they were leaving a disagreeable habitation, where 
there was nothing but war and poverty, and emigrating 
to some happier spot, where they would enjoy peace 
and plenty. But the reverse of all this is the truth, 
for they are going away of their own accord, cheer- 
fully parting with their dearest friends, and ieaving 
a warm habitation and well stored granary to seek 
their fortunes in a new situation, where they will 
liave every thing to provide for themselves, and all 
the varieties and inconstancy of weather and climate 
to struggle against. Such is nature. 


Swarms generally commence to cluster, within five 
or ten minutes after issuing, sometimes upon a 
fence or post, hut most commonly on the limb of 
some green tree, if near at hand. In my experience, 
there has not been more than one swarm in fifty, and 

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perhaps not more than one in a hundred, that has 
attempted to go off without firat clustering. The 
custom of tanging, ringing bells, or making some 
hideous noise, has prevailed from time immemorial, 
and still does in some places. I discarded it many 
years ago, finding it entirely unnecessary, and have 
discovered no difference in the swarms clustering. 

When the place is selected, and the greater part 
of the swarm clustered, they should be hived imme- 
diately, as they soon become impatient, and other 
swarms may come off in the mean time and unite 
with them. A hiving stool should be in readiness 
and kept in the apiary for instant use ; one about two 
feet six inches square, with posts or legs at each cor- 
ner, making the stool from twelve to eighteen inches 
high. This is cheap and simple in its construction, 
and answers the purpose very well. 

Hives should always lie in readiness before swarms 
are expected. Set your stool in a level position, as 
near as convenient to where the cluster hangs; set 
the hive upon it. If open entirely at the lower end, 
put a stick or block under one side, to raise it an 
inch or so fi-oni the bench ; if it has a stationary bot- 
tom board, with the entrance at one side, it should 
be left open at least one inch. If the swarm has clus- 
tered oa a limb that can be cut off conveniently, cut 
it off and lay it gently down, or rather hold it against 
the opening left for them to go into the Mve ; brush 
the bees which are next to the opening gently ivith 
some kind of brush (the feather end of a goose quill 
is the best thing for this purpose); when a few are 

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•AOQ bees and BEK-KliEPING. 

thus induced to enter they will verj' aoon set up a 
call, as much as to say, "Eurekii," or, We've fouud 
it, when all wil! very soon, euter and take possession 
of it. Sometimes, however, they will cluster about 
the entrance, appearing unwilling to enter, when 
they should be pushed or brushed with a quill or 
bunch of leaves, or some water sprinkled over them 
— a very little is sufficient. This should only be used 
when they are obstinate. A small box should be at 
hand, into which they may be brushed, if they alight 
on a fence or a post, or any such thing, and then put 
down gently at the entrance of the hive. Should 
they take wing very rapidly to escape from the box, 
a cloth thrown over it will prevent them from leav- 

When tliey cluster on the limb of a high tree, a 
long ladder should always be in readiness, and also a 
rope, such as is used for a clothes-line. A person 
should ascend the ladder, with a fine-toothed saw and 
one end of the rope ; if the limb is too heavy to 
carry down in the hand, pass the rope over a limb, if 
possible, occupying a higher position than the one on 
which the bees ai-e clustered, make it fast to the 
branch occupied by the bees, an attendant holding 
the lower end of the rope ; proceed to saw off the 
limb, being careful to jar it as little aa possible. The 
attendant below can now lower it gradually until it 
reaches the ground, when the bees can be put in, as 
has been directed. Should they, however, cluster in 
a position where it would not be desirable to cut off 
a limb, a box or basket should bo used to brush them 

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into, aud theii covered to prevent their escape until 
carried down to tlie hive. 

In putting swarms into our improved movable 
comb hive, the quickest and easiest plan is simply to 
opeu the lid, take out the honey board, and shake 
the cluster nght down among the tranies ; brush 
down any that run up the sides, slip in the honey 
board gently, to keep all helow; keep the entrances 
in front of tlie hive open. Those flying around will 
Boon he attracted by the sound of those within, and 
will enter. When ail except a very few, perhaps, have 
entered the hive, it should be immediately removed 
and placed upon the stand where it is to remain per- 
manently. The few bees flying about will soon 
return to the old hive from whence they eame, so 
there will be no loss. Care should be taken to keep 
the swarm and the hive in which they are put, shaded 
fi'om the sun, during the time that elapses from their 
clustering until hived and removed to their stand, as 
the heat annoys them very much. 


Just as soon as the ewaiTii is put in and set on the 
bench, if in a movable comb hive, go immediately to 
any hive convenient and take out a frame, carefully 
brushing off all the bees into the hive, being cautious 
that the gneen or queen cells are not removed with 
it. Place this in the hive containing the new swarm ; 
it don't matter whether it contains honey and brood, 
or honey alone. If your hives are just the common 
chamber or box hive, at svparmiug time there should 

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be more or less honey in the boxes. Take a box 
from the hive from which the swarm issued, and 
immediately put it into the hive occupied by the new 

It is now more than fifteen years since I adopted 
this plan ; my neighbor bee-keepers were taught it, 
and have been practicing it for years, and out of 
hundreds of swarms I have never known one to aban- 
don its hive, when a frame of honey was put in or a 
box of honey put on top, so that they could have 
access to it. A knowledge of this alone is worth 
many times the price of this book to any bee-keeper 
who depends on natural swarming to increase hia 
stock ; without it, swarms very frequently leave the 
hive, even after remaining a day or two. I have 
heard of them leaving when they had combs built 
several inches long. In California they seem to have 
a much greater propensity to leave in this manner 
than here ; hence the great importance of this dis- 
covery, if such it is — at least I never heard of it 
or seen it mentioned by any author, previous to 
discovering it ourselves {J. S. Harbison was, I be- 
lieve, the first to suggest it), nor has it been noticed 
since by any writer, to my knowledge. 


The opinion has prevailed to a very great extent, 
among those who have not investigated this matter 
very carefully, that in the spring oi- early part of the 
season a Utter or brood is raised by the bees, expressly 
for the purpose of being sent off as a swarm, some- 

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Natural swasmiss. 20S 

thing after the manner of raising a brood or flock of 
chickens, and with these a king, as many peraist in 
ealiing the queen, waa raised to lead them forth, and 
to reign over them, &e. and that the old beea, 
together with their queen, remained quietly at home 
to enjoy the fruits of their labors in the old home- 
stead, while the young folka went forth to find a new 
habitation in which to lay tip stores to keep them, 
iu turn, when old age should advance upon them. 
Bnt here, as in many other things, such opiniona are 
at fault. The faet of the old queen going forth -^vith 
the first awarm, has been so fully denionstvated by 
all reliable authoi-s, and so fully attested by all intel- 
ligent and observing apiarians whom I have had 
the pleasure of consulting upon this point, that I 
will content myself with simply stating the fact, that 
the old queen invariably goes out with the first swarm 
that issues from the hive in the spring, being replaced 
with a young one, which is yet in an embryo state, 
when the ewarm leaves, and in due time comes forth ; 
if no accident occurs, it becomes fertile, supplying 
the colony with eggs and remaining until the next 
swarming season arrives, when, if the weather and 
other circumstances are favorable, she in turn leads 
forth the first swarm. 

Instead of the swarm being composed entirely of 
young bees, it is made up of all kinds and conditions, 
from the old, with ragged wings (becoming so, doubts 
leas, from the effects of continued hard labor), to the 
young bee that had emerged from the eel! but a few 
hours previous and acarceJy able to fly. Those that 

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204 Bees akd bejs-keepisg. 

have j«at returned from the fields with pollen on 
their thighs, may also be seen iu considerable num- 
bers. One of the mysteries that is yet unexplained, 
to me at least, is, where the line of demarcation 
exists between those that go and those remaining in 
the hive. 


It is vei'j' important to have low trees growing in 
and about the apiary, to furnish suitable places for 
swarms to clustei', and for coavenieneo in hiving 
them. I'or this purpose I would urge the planting 
and cultivation of fruit treea, which serve for this 
pui-pose and will also produce abundantly. It is but 
little move trouble to plant a fruit tree than to make 
a hole and set in a bush ; the additional cost would 
be but a few cents ; the fruit produced would pay a 
generous interest on the investment, besides adding 
to the appearance of the apiary. Such trees should 
be selected as arc of slow growth, or will stand fre- 
quent cutting or pruning. The apple, quince, pear, 
morello cherry, or peach, may be shortened in severely 
every year. Dwarf trees would perhaps be preferable; 
even currant bushes would do very well. All the 
cultivation any of these require is to dig or spade 
around them occasionally during the summer, and 
give them a few shovelfLiIs of manure. Where tall 
trees are already growing near the apiary, the tops 
should be cut off so as to render them more conve- 
nient for taking down swarms, should they cluster 
on them ; or else cut them down entii-ely, and plant 
othei's in their places. 

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matdkal swarmino. 205 


When the queen goes forth with the swarm, tliey 
almost invariably cluster ou some bush or other con- 
venient place, within five or at most ten luinutea 
after leaving. Mr. Quinby says, perhaps one avvarni 
in three hundred will depart for the woods withoat 
first clustering. My experience differs but little from 
this. About the year 1840 we had a top swann to 
issue, and before they were half out they struck off 
in a line or stream in the direction of a dead hollow 
tree, which stood in a field at the distance of perhaps 
forty rods from the apiary ; a strong current of bees 
seemed to extend almost from the hive to the tree. 
All the efforts we could make to eonfnse or change 
their course, by throwing dirt, water, &c. in the faces 
and eyes of the advanciiig column, proved to be 
unavailing; they kept moving onward, perfectly re- 
gardless of all obstacles thrown in their way. When 
they amved at the tree they immediately began to 
alight, and enter at a small opening or knot hole, 
some forty or fitly feet from the ground. Soon after 
all had thus entered, we cut the tree down, made an 
opening in the cavity in the trunk, and put the bees 
into a hive, removing them to the apiary from whence 
they emigrated. They went to work without farther 
trouble and did well. Since that time I have known 
of two or three instances exactly similar to this, 
occurring with neighboring bee-keepers. 

"Wc have had a swarm occasionally that evidently 
designed leaving without clustering; but several 
assistants being at hand, through their combined 

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206 SBGS and BEB-KEBPlNti, 

efforts in keeping in advance of the column, vigor- 
ously throwing fresh plowed dirt and water amongst 
them, they became confused, and finally, after going 
a considerable distance, clustered. This plan we 
have found the most efficient to confuse bees and 
induce them to cluster ; yet I believe that a shrill, 
sharp sound in their immediate vicinity will prevent 
them from communicating with each other by sound 
when upon the wing, which, I think, they invariably 
do; they become confused, and in order to under- 
stand each other they will cluster. It is safe to con- 
clude that not more than one swarm in a hundred, 
or perhaps in two hundred, will leave without first 


I think there is little doubt that bees, either before 
or immediately after swarming and clustering, send 
out spies to find a suitable place for the swarm to 
lodge in ; and yet I much doubt whether or not any 
uniform practice is observed by them in this matter. 
In some cases they undoubtedly send out spies before 
the swarm issues, as in the case mentioned of the 
swarm proceeding to the ti'ee without clustering ; in 
other eases it is equally certain that spies are sent 
after clnsteriiig. Indeed, I am pretty well satisfied 
the latter course is the one generally practiced. In 
some cases, however, it is quite probable that neither 
plan has been observed. 

When a swarm sets out, either direct from the liive 
or from where it has been clustered, and goes in a 

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direct line, making a bee line, as it may very appro- 
priately be called, to and immediately enter the only 
tree for acres around, perhaps, in which there ia an 
opening, and a sufficient cavity to contain the swarm, 
and afford them shelter, tt proves very conelnsively, 
to me, at least, that spies had visited it before, and 
now seiTe as pilots to conduct the swarm thither, 


Bees have sometimes pitched upon very singular 
places for their residence, as in the carcass of the lion 
slain by Samson, recorded in the fourteenth chapter 
of Judges. The probability is the entrails had been 
removed when it was slain, and owing to the peculiar 
state of the atmosphere which prevails in that and 
many other countries during the dry season, the car- 
cass of an animal thus emboweled would become firm 
and solid, without putrefaction taking place. 

In tho year 1842, a swarm of bees took up their 
abode in a frame church near my residence, entering 
at a crack just above one of the windows, occupying 
the space hetween the weatherboards and plastering. 
This made a very commodious place, being ahout 
three or four feet high by two feet wide, between the 
shedding, and four inches deep. 

In 1858, a swarm entered a flue or chimney of a 
brick house in Sacramento City, California, where it 
remained and built a large amount of combs. The 
owner of the house sold it the following spring for 
fifty dollars, conditioned that the purchaser should 
repair all damage done to the house by removing the 

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8warm. I ieained it was transferred into a hive and 
did well. 

I have heard of them being found in cavea and 
clefts in roeks, but of this I have no accurate infor- 

Mr. KoBe, a very intelligent and reliable man (now 
a bee-keeper and neighbor of mine), who spent some 
years in hunting and trapping for a St. Louia fur 
company, mostly on the Missouri and tributary rivers, 
and near the Eoeky mountains, informs me that in 
those vast prairies through which he frequently had 
occasion to pass, he repeatedly found bees upon the 
ground, apparently having attempted to cross to some 
belt of timber, but becoming exhausted they settled 
down upon the grass and built up combs in a conical 
shape, in some cases quite a large quantity. In such 
instances it is not probable that spies had been sent 
out in advance. Where timber abounds, the placa 
generally selected is a hollow tree, which of all others 
seems the most natural to the bee in a wild state, or 
VFhen permitted to look out for themselves in any 
case. Jn Scotland, in Bonner's time (1795), it was a 
common occurrence for swarms to go into empty 
hives that might chance to be standing in the apiary, 
and sometimes they would take possession of a hive 
in some neighbor's bee yard, from which difficulties 
were of frequent occurrence. Cases of this kind are 
very rare in this country ; yet it is likely to occur 
when the laud becomes thickly settled and hollow 
trees arc scarce. 

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In an apiary of any size, two or more frequently 
coniQ off about the same time and unite. If top- 
swarms, this is a loss ; if after-swarms, so much the 
better. A good strong swarm is better than three or 
four weak ones. This may be prevented, by aprink- 
ling tiiem with water, wliich I found to answer the 
purpose very well. I frequently had occasion to use 
it years before Mr. Quinby's work was published, yet 
I will here give his method of applying it, which is 
as good as any. "But should yoa discover the bees 
running to and fro in great commotion, although 
there may be but few about the entrance, you should 
lose no time in sprinkling those outside with water 
from a watering pot, or other means. They will 
immediately enter the hive to avoid the supposed 
shower. In half an hour they will be ready to start 
again, in which time the other may be secm-ed. I 
have had, in one apiary, twelve hives all ready in one 
day, and did actually swarm ; several of which would 
have started at once, had they not been kept back 
with water, allowing only one at a time, thus keeping 
them separate. They had been kept back by the 
clouds, which broke away about noon." 

I have sometimes used smoke for the same pur- 
pose. By blowing it under or into the entrance, it 
alarms them and disconcerts their arrangements for 
a short time. Where many bees are kept, two or 
more persons should be in attendance; one should 
keep a sharp look out to see if any, after the first 
one started, show symptoms of issuing out soon ; if 

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80, either water them or blow smoke into the en- 
trance for a minute or two, thus keeping them in 
check whilst tlie one out is heing hived. Should a 
seeond one come out when the fimt is partially hived, 
a large cloth or sheet should be spread over it for a 
few minutes, until they cluster elsewhere ; or what is 
better, when our hives are used (the entrance being 
easily closed,) close up the entrance entirely Lefore 
there is any possibility of the queen of the second 
swarm entering, being careful to turn the tin caps 
from the holes intended for ventilation. Should they 
persist in clustering upon or near the hive, get 
another hive and put them in at once, the first one 
being still closed up. "When the majority of the bees 
have entered, the other may be opened. In this way 
the stragglers will be divided. When all, or nearly 
BO, have entered the hive, remove them at once to 
the stand. 

The greatest possible dispatch is necessary in 
hiving swarms, when others are expected to come 
off every minute. Should two or more swarms, how- 
ever, come off together, it is important to divide 
them, getting a queen with each, if possible. This 
ia not very difficult, if an expert attendant is at hand 
to assist. Take your watering pot (openings for 
water to pass through should be very small), after 
shaking all down upon a slieet or table, sprinkle 
them pretty well ; this will prevent them from moving 
so rapidly, and gives a good chance to see the queen 
as she passes along. Now set a hive at each side, if 
two swarms; if more, a hive for each. Take a quill 

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or brash, and start them into the hives, having sev- 
eral inches to travel from the main cluster to the 
hive. In this way an expert apiarian can certainly 
see the qneen, if one should pass into the hive. 
Watch carefully that no other enters; shonld one 
make her appearance, catch her and put her into the 
other hive ; then divide the bees as nearly equal as 
possible. Should you find but one queen, mark the 
hive in which she was put; and if either swarm 
comes off a movable comb hive, examine it imme- 
diately to obtain a comb containing a (^ueen cell 
(care must be taken to leave one still in tlie hive) ; 
put this into the swarm where no queen was observed, 
if it still contains enough bees for a good aized swarm, 
if not, take some from the other, making them run 
the gauntlet to see that no queen passes. Shut up 
the hive, being careful to ventilate; act it on the 
stand, let it remain until a few minutes before sun- 
set, give them their liberty, when they will note their 
locality, and by morniiig will go to wojk. With box 
hives this is not so easily accomplished; however, it 
may be done by inverting the hive which sent forth 
a swarm, where queen cells will, or ought to, be 
found; cut one of these out, with a small piece of 
comb attached. If the swarm is put in a box hive, 
this queen cell may be suspended from one of the 
holes in the top where bees ascend to the honey box ; 
the piece of comb should be cut to fit the hole nicely, 
the cell projecting below into the hive. This embryo 
queen will very soon emerge and supply the swarm, 
if neither of the old queens were put in the hive; 

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but if they had beeu properly divided, the only loss 
would be the embryo queen. 

To sprinkle bees with water in the manner de- 
scribed renders it quite easy to find the queen ; in 
fact, their motions can be entirely controlled thereby. 
Pennit me again to caution all who hive swarms to 
keep both the hive and cluster well shaded from the 
sun. Hivea, before being used, slioiild be kept in a 
cool, shady place, else they may be too hot. Be 
careful to ventilate the hive well when the swarm 
is put in. Should there bo any necessary delay after 
the swarm clusters before it can be hived, sprinkle it 
well with cold water, which will keep them quiet for 
some time. 


Piping (peep ! peep !) — a sound emitted by young 
queens, similar to that made by a very young chicken, 
only in a much finer key — usually commences about 
the ninth day from the issuing of the first swarm, 
and continues at short intervals until the twelfth or 
thirteenth day. Within this period of four days, if 
the weather is favorable, a swarm is likely to issue ; 
in fine weather most probably on the tenth or 
eleventh day. After the third night's warning, a 
swarm ia likely to emerge even should the weather 
be indifferent, and such as would prevent a top- 
swarm from leaving the hive. 

Bevati says : " Unless the royal voice can be heard 
about the period above stated, no after-swarra will 
issue. From an extensive observation made by my- 
self and friends, in our respective apiaries, I may 

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conMently state, therefore, that this sign may be 
regarded as the invariable precursor of nn after-swai'm, 
and that its absence, in any stock from which a swarm 
has issued, infallibly denotes that its swarming is over 
for the season. 

" I have said that the period at which piping usu- 
ally takes place is the ninth day after the departure 
of a first swarm ; in this there is, however, a degree 
of uncertainty, depending in some measure upon the 
state of the weather, and perhaps on other circum- 
stances. It may t-ake place a fe-w days earlier and 
several days later than the average time. It has been 
known to occur within a daj' or two of the issue of 
the fii-st swarms, and it is by no means an uncom- 
mon thing for it to happea as early as the seventh or 
eighth day after it; piping is also now and then 
delayed to the fifteenth or sixteenth day; whether 
late or early, it generally continues the usual time> 
namely, three or four days, so that when deferred, to 
the latest period I have named, the second swarm will 
not cume forth till the eighteenth or twentieth day 
after the issue of the first. Both these extremes, 
however, may be regarded as very rare occurrences. 

"In order to understand the rationale of what I have 
said, it is necessary to advert to the period at which a 
young queen begins piping, namely, as soon as she 
arrives at maturity, and to compare this with the 
average periods of first and second swarming. A 
first swarm generally issues soon after the cells of 
the embryo queens have been sealed over, therefore 
when the latter are about eight days old : in about 

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eight more they are mature" (in this latitude, but in 
California the average time from the egg to the ma- 
ture queen is fourteen days) ; " either then or on the 
morrow piping usually commences, and between this 
(which constitutes the ninth day of the < 
stock) and the thirteenth day, the second 
generally takes its departure. When the weather, 
however, and other eircumatances have proved pecu- 
liarly favorable, a first swarm, as I have already 
observed, has been known to issue almost imme- 
diately after the tenanting of the royal cells. Several 
instances of this early departure of first swarma 
occurred under Mr. Golding's observation, in 1829, 
in which year piping did not commence in any one 
of his stocks, earlier than the thirteenth day after 
the departure of the first swarm. 

" This will account satisfactorily for the apparently 
late issue of some second swarms, or more properly 
speaking, for the time which intervenes between a 
first and second swarm. It likewise illustrates the 
cause of the occasional variations in that period, and 
also accounts for a fii-st swarm being so much more 
particular than a second or third, respecting the state 
of the weather at the time it issues. It has the whole 
period, from the time of securing a royal succession 
to that of the maturing of the royal brood, from 
which to choose, which may under peculiar circum- 
stances bo extended to nearly three weeks ; whilst in 
the case of alter-awarms, the embryo queens, iu their 
progress to maturity, advance so closely upon the 
heels of each other, ae to compel the bees to issue, 

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though tlie weather be but indifforent) or to liave the 
senior queen engaged in mortal combat with hei" 
rapidly maturing rivals," 

Bevan again remarks : "In 1830, the rapiditj with 
which second swarms succeeded the first wa3 as re- 
markable as their tardiness in 1829, Mr. Goldingin 
the former year had two colonies in which piping 
commenced on the third day, and in one of them the 
second swarm issued on the fourth. The weather 
had proved eo very unfavorable, that the old queens 
deferred emigrating as long as they well could;" 
being nearly up to the time of maturity of the young 

In some peculiarly favorable localities, and in very 
pi-opitious seasons, a prime top-swarm will send off 
another swarm the same season. This is of frequent 
occurrence in California, and perhaps in many of tlio 
Southern States, but rarely happens here. 

"In this case," says Mr. Sevan, "it usually oecura 
between the twenty-eighth and thirtieth days of ita 
establishment, and the only indication of the approach 
of such an issue, besides those already enumei-ated, 
ia the worker combs, with which first swarms gen- 
erally store their hives, becomiDg edged with a few 
drone cells," in which drone brood may be found. 

The apiary should be eai'efully watched when after- 
swarma are expected, as the outside indications are 
not such as to attract the attention of the casual 
obseiTer, Sometimes they issue early in the morn- 
ing or late in the evening. Should two or more 
second or third swarms issue on the same day, it ia 

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well to unite them. Simply hive them together and 
blow a few whiffs of smoke among them. They 
seldom quarrel at this season of the year. 

But unless in localities where the yield of honey is 
abundant, and such as to keep the swarms building 
eorabs and constantly advancing, with but little if 
any intermission, from the time it is hived until the 
close of honey gathering from the buckwheat, I 
would strongly urge the removal of all the queen 
cells from the hive soon after the first swarms left, 
except one to supply the old hive ; and all hives that 
sent off a swarm should be examined carefully, from 
time to time, to see if the young queen becomes 
fertile. This may be told by the eggs in the brood- 
combs, wbich is more fully discussed in another 
place. The proper and most profitable course to 
adopt for the management of after-swarms, depends 
entirely upon situation and circumstances. "What 
would be best in one place would not suit another ; 
hence, it is necessary for each apiarian to judge of 
what is best adapted to his particular locality. 

In California, in most localities, a swarm issuing 
at almost any time is likely to live over winter, 
although it may not entirely fill its hive. The win- 
ters being short and mild, it is comparatively easy to 
keep late swarms during cold weather, and they will 
fill up and make good stocks the next spring. This 
doubtless applies very appropriately to most of our 
Southern States. Such swarms would be compara- 
tively worthless for wintering in the Northern and 
Middle States, hence it is quite impossible for any 

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writer, from any givoii stimd-point, to undertake to 
give specific directions that wiil apply witli equal 
propriety to all climates and circumstances, where 
bees are kept, although their nature and habits remain 
the same. 



To THOSK who wish to secure a large yield of honey 
rather than an increase of colonies, wo recommend 
the following plan ; but to operate with ease and 
certainty, it is necessary to have the beeg in pur im- 
proved movable comb hives. 

When the bees begin to work busily in the spring,' 
carefully examine all your stocks, some fine, warm 
day, by lifting out each comb. Should yon find one 
scarce of honey and another having a good supply, 
exchange combs, being cajeful to brush ofi" all the 
bees, each into their own Iftve; thus you will give a 
full comb of honey to the one tliat lacks, and replace 
it in the other hive with the empty comb. In this 
manner all the stocks in the apiarj- may be equalized. 
The strong, heavy stocks may be benefited by re- 
moving one or two combs that contain only honey, 
provided they are fed as directed, but not otherwise. 
I here protest against taking honey from the hives 
at this season of the year, under the false apprehen- 
sion that they have too much. 

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When tlie lower part of tlie hive is full, and combs 
well covered with bees, put the boxes to contain 
Burplua honey into the chamber, to which they will 
soon ascend and commence building, if there is a 
plentiful supply of honey. If they have been prop- 
erly fed, and are strong and vigorous to commence 
the honey harvest, they will fill from one to two seta 
of honey boxes diinug its continuance, which will be 
from twenty-five to fifty pounds of surplus honey; 
and may, perhaps, the season being favorable, east 
off a swarm, if permitted. In this latitude all after- 
eWarms should be prevented, by opening the old hive 
immediately after the first swarm issues, and removing 
ail the young cLueens but one. This is much easier 
done, and more effectual, than returning after-swarms 
to the parent hive. Th& young queen, thua left to 
supply the old hive, is liable to accident. "When she 
takes her excursions abroad to meet the drones in the 
air, she may be caught by a bird, or may miss her 
way to her own hive on her return. I have on sev- 
eral occasions rescued young queens, with marks of 
their amours upon them, at the entrance of hives I 
knew had fertile queens, where she would have been 
dispatched in a short time, but for my timely aid. 
By a prompt and careful examination I have gen- 
erally succeeded in finding the hive where she 
belonged. Hence, it is of great importance to guard 
against the loss of a queen. The old colony should 
be examined about ten days after the swarm issues, 
and every two or three daj'S from that time, and if 
no eggs are found by the eighteenth day, take a comb 

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out of some hive having a fertile queeu, with eggs 
and youug htrva in it, and give it in exchange for 
one of their empty brood-combs. This will place the 
means in their reach to rear another queen, in ease 
the previous one failed. It can only be done euccess- 
fnlly in a movable comb hive. 

If bees swarm naturally, and the hive has been 
examined and the surplus embryo queens removed 
to prevent after-8 warming, as directed on another 
page, let them stand for a period of from twelve to 
eighteen days from the casting of the swarm, and 
then examine. Most of the brood will have matured 
and left the cells, the old queen having led (she inva^ 
riably does) the first swarm. The young one left to 
supply her place not yet being fertile, the combs will 
be found empty, or nearly so, A considerable time 
may and generally does elapse before the young queen 
becomes fertile, and is able to replenish the combs 
with eggs; hence much valuable time is lost. To 
remedy this and keep ail rearing brood to the best 
advantage, adopt the plan as directed under the head 
of "How to strengthen artificial swarms." Simply 
change those combs from which the brood has 
emerged, where the colony is destitute of a queeu, 
with a colony that has a fertile queen, and the 
combs well stored with brood, eggs, &c. being very 
careful to brash ofi' all the eggs from each before 
making the change, lest both the queens should be 
put in the same hive. Care should also bo observed 
that no colony has more brood than they can keep 
warm and i-ear properly. 

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Permit mo again to impress upon the minds of 
all bee-keepera who make artificial Bwarins, or even 
change combs, as has just been described, the import- 
ance of keeping enough bees upon the brood-comba 
to keep the brood warm, and to nurse and bring it to 
maturity; otherwise the brood will inevitably perish, 
and ere long become a putrid mass, entailing loss and 
disappointment upon the owner. With a reasonable 
degree of caution, however, no danger need be appvc- 



A GREAT many stocks of bees ai-e lost every year, 
originating in the loss of a queen when the colony 
was perliaps pretty strong, but destitute of eggs from 
which to rear another; the inevitable result of which 
is, that in a few weeks, or at most a few months, 
they wilt bo wasted away by death and lost by acci- 
dent. It is astonishing how soon even a strong, 
populous colony will dwindle down to the last dozen 
bees, when there is no queen to replenish the hive. 
Quinby says : " I doubt whether the largest and best 
family could be made to exist six months without a 
queen for their renewal, except perhaps through the 
winter." I doubt if they could exist even three 
months, in the summer, without a queen. So fast do 
tliey waste away when they become weak and unable 
to protect the combs from moths, or to destroy the 

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worms, when just hatclied out and before they fortify 
themselves, that they very soon fall a prey to their 
ravages; or if they eseapo the worms, their weak 
and defenseless sitaation will ere loug be discovered 
by other bees in the apiary, some fine, warm day, 
when they will immediately commence to plunder 
the hive of its honey, accomplishing it in a very short 
time, exciting them to such a dogi'ee that they will 
attack almost any hive in the apiaiy. I have known 
them in one or two instances, when gi-eatly excited 
by having carried off the honey from a defenseless 
hive, concentrate on a very strong and vigorous stock, 
and subduing them in a very few minutes, carry off 
the honey ; hence the loss of a queen sometimes leads 
to very serious results, entailing heavy loss on the 
owner. Sometimes it extends to neighboring bee- 
keepers, and not unfrequently whole neighborhoods, 
when they get excited to robbing, carrying death and 
destruction wherever they go, and are only arrested 
in their plundering by a change of weather. 

It is of the utmost importance that bee-keepers 
should fully understand this matter, and be prepared 
to guard against such disasters, which occur to a 
greater or less extent every year, few suspecting the 
real cause. 

I have very frequently heard such statements as 
the following: "I lost one of my best hives of bees. 
It sent off two or three swarms " (as the case may be) 
" this summer, and made two boxes of honey. It 
was my very best stock in the spring and forepart of 
the Bummer ; but a few days ago I noticed other bees 

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•222 BEE;i AND BEE-KKSflNd. 

robbing it. When I came to examine clpaely, there 
was only a mere handful of bees in it; there was 
plenty of houey and bee-bread in it, but I can't cou- 
ceive what became of the beea." This is but one 
of many such inquiriea I have been called upon to 
answer ; indeed there ia scarcely a yard where bees 
are kept, however few, but lose one or more queens 
annually from this cause alone. 


I have found that a serious loss of queens occurs 
during their excursions abroad to meet the drones in 
the air for impregnation, when they are caught by 
birds or blown down by high winds ; but the greatest 
loss arises from mistaking their own hive, and alight- 
ing and attempting to enter some hive near it, in their 
return from their amours, where certain destruction 
awaits them, if not observed and rescued by the 
apiarian, which is seldom done. I rescued several 
during the paat summer, and with a little care found 
where they belonged, and returned them safely. 

When the first swarm leaves a hive, the old queen 
accompanies it, leaving a sealed or embryo queen to 
fill her place, and others to lead any subsequent 
swarms that may issue ; hence, the old hive, and all 
after-swarms, will have young queens that must 
necessarily go forth to meet the drones, and eon- 
Bcquently are liable to be lost. It is very important 
to examine all hives that have cast a swarm, about 
ten days from the time the first swarm left, and if no 
eggs are found in the combti, examine again and 

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ii.gain, at periods of two or three days; if none are 
found by tlie sixteenth day, the probability is that 
the queen has been lost. The remedy is, to either 
supply them with an embryo queen, if you have a 
queen nursery, when one can be had ; but when none 
can be obtained, take out a frame of comb from a 
hive that has a fertile queen, see that there are plenty 
of eggs in it, and exchange it for an empty comb in 
the hive which you suspect has lost its queen. From 
these eggs they will rear queens ; but the same diffi- 
culty will exist as in the first case of their getting 
lost. The plan I have suggested for strengthening 
artificial swai-ms, i. e. exchanging the oomba that are 
destitute of eggs and brood for those that are supplied 
with both, is one of the best for safety and utility. 
Such examinations and exchanges can only be made 
successfully in movable comb hives ; yet in common 
box hives, by inverting them and smoking the bees 
off, and cutting or breaking out some of the combs, 
its condition can be ascertained, and combs contain- 
ing eggs inserted. When this is done, the eggs 
should be placed in a central position in the hive, as 
the colony is likely to be reduced in numbers and 
unable to maintain sufficient heat to develop the 
young queens, if otherwise situated. 

The superiority of the new movable comb hive 
over all other plans is clearly manifested in this par- 
ticular, as there are more bees lost annually by first 
losing their queens than would pay the difference in 
the cost of the hive, with the patent right included. 
In this hive the bee-keeper can, with very little care, 

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prevent any loss. Queens are sometimea lost earlj' 
iu the season, but there is no difficulty in supplying 
them with eggs or young queens, and they become 
fertile at any time when there are plenty of drones 
in the apiary. 


But few bee-keepers will detect the syraptoma that 
follow the loss of the queen, and even when they do 
they are liable to be mistaken. The only certain and 
reliable method of ascertaining, is by an examination 
of the combs in the interior of the hive. I give Mr. 
Quinby'e description of those symptoms, m it corres- 
ponds with my experience ; he says : " The next 
moraing after a loss of this kind has occurred, and 
occasionally at evening, the bees may be seen running 
about in the greatest consternation, outside, to and fro, 
on the sides. Some will fly off a short distance and 
return ; one will run to another, and then to another, 
still in hopes, no doubt, of finding their lost sovereign. 
A neighboring hive close by, on the same bench, will 
probably receive a portion, which will seldom resist 
an accession under such circumstances. All this will 
be going on vphile other hives are quiet. Toward 
the middle of the day, this confaaion will be less 
marked; but the next morning it will be exhibited 
again, though not so plainly, and cease after the third 
day, when they become apparently reconciled to their 

" They will continue their labors as usua!, bringing 
in pollen and honey. Here I am obliged to differ 

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with writers who tell us that all labor will now 
cease. I hope the reader will not be deceived bj enp- 
posing that because the bees are bringing iu pollen, 
that they must have a queen ; I can assure you it is 
not always the case." 


"The number of bees will gi-adually decrease, and 
be all gone by the early part of winter, leaving a 
good supply of honey, and an extra quantity of bee- 
bread, because there has been no young beea to 
consume it. This is the case when a Jarge family 
was left at the time of the loss. "When but few beea 
are left, it is very different ; the combs are unpro- 
tected by a covering of bees ; the moth deposits her 
eggs on them, aiid the workers soon finish up the 
whole. Yet the bees from the other stocks will 
genei'ally firet remove the honey." 

To this I would, add, as a preventive, place upon 
or immediately before each hive tliat has east a 
swarm, or is likely to have a young, unimpregnated 
queen, something that will make a distinctive mark, 
to enable her to distinguish her own hive. This 
precaution is highly necessary, especially where hives 
stand close together in the apairy. Care should be 
taken in removing honey boxes, when the openings 
are above the main breeding department, as the queen 
frequently ascends into them, and is often taken off 
in this manner and lost. Each box should be marked 
before removing, so it can be returned to the same 
place. If the beea refuse to leave it within twenty-four 
houre after it is taken oif, which is a sure indication 

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that the queen is there, and they will not leave her, 
the box should then be returned, when ahe will 
usually descend into the hive in a few hours. 



I HAVE found the best plan is to defer putting the 
surplus honey boxes in until the hive is full of bees, 
the combs well covered with bees, and the spaces 
hetween the combs well filled clear down to the 
bottom of the hive ; also be careful to see that they 
are gathering honey plentifully. They will fill the 
lower or main part of the hive before ascending to 
the boxes; and should they remain in long before 
they are wanted, they become foul from the moisture 
generated by the breath of the bees. We generally 
put our boxes on a fe-w days after the white clover 
blooms; on the strong hives first, and on othei's as 
they seem to require them, until all are supplied. 
When full boxes are removed empty ones should be 
put in their places, if they are obtaining honey plen- 
tifully ; but if a small quantity only is being gathered, 
it is best to defer putting any boxes in until it again 
becomes plenty. 


As soon as boxes are full, and the honey nicely 
capped, they should be taken off. Every day they 

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Management oe honey. 221 

are permitted to remain, aerves to darlteu the honey; 
and if the honey harvest coiitinuea it is a serioua loss, 
as a day or two is quite important to them at such a 
time. Sometimes they will fill boxes in from twelve 
to fifteen days, at others twice that time is required. 
The proper way is to peep in through the glass and 
watch their progress. 

In taking off boxes I prefer using smoke to drive 
the boea back. Eaiae your box a little with a strong 
knife or chisel, blow smoke under for a few minutes, 
to alarm the bees and drive them below ; then remove 
the box, and if desirable, replace it with an empty 

I prefer taking boxes off in the evening, and set- 
ting them close together, inverted, in our honey room. 
Place an empty box, say a foot square, or any other 
size, over some of the openings in a central part of 
your lot of boxes ; the bees will generally collect and 
cluster in this before morning, when you can remove 
it to the apiary and invert it. Each bee will return 
to its own hive, except, perhaps, a few young ones. 

Occasionally a box will have the queen in it when 
taken off. If so, she will attract bees from other 
boxes, and it will be quite impossible to drive them 
out. When this is likely to occur, it would be well 
to mark each box as taken off, so it could be returned 
with the queen. Many hives are lost by talking the 
queen away in this manner, and the cause of the loss 
never suspected by the owner. "When boxes are 
taken into the honey room, the windows and doors 
should be kept open in the morning, to permit all the 

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strao'glera to return to their hives ; but eare must be 
taken to prevent bees from carrying off the honey, 
which they are veiy certain to do if permitted. 

When honey is thus removed from the care of the 
heea and set by in a honey-room, where it will be 
kept warm, as ia generally the case at that season, 
in a few days it will be found to have worms in it, 
although it may have been closed so as to effectually 
exclude the miller; and unless these worms are 
destroyed, they will very soon render the honey unfit 
for market. 

The question very naturally arises, How did the 
worms get there? Mr. Quinby gives it as his opin- 
ion, that the eggia carriedthereby the bees, either on 
their teet or body, haying been deposited near the 
entrance; he says, it ia not at all probable that the 
moth passed through the hive, and deposited eggs in 
the jars or boxes. 

My experience leads me a little further in this 
direction. I have seen, on several occasions, the 
moth alight near the entrance of the hives a little 
after sunset, when the bees were standing guai-d, and 
clustered around the entrance, pass right amongst the 
bees, and go into the hive unmolested, the bees 
getting out of its track, apparently dreading its touch, 
as though it was a coal of fire, not daring to attack 
it! On one or two occasions I immodiateiy opened 
the hive {a movable comb one) on seeing the millet" 
enter, and found it passing over the combs unmo- 

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Management of honey. 229 

lested, just as I had seen hei- pass among the bees on 
the iUighting board. From this and other observa- 
tioua, I think there ia but little doubt that the moth 
or miller deposits her eggs directly in the combs at 
any point in the hive she sees proper, passing in and 
out at pleasure ; and the only means of defense 
possessed by the bees, is to destroy the worm very 
BOOH after it is hatehed aod begins to feed upon the 
comb, and before it has encased itself in a web or 

I am aware that the opinion prevails amongst bee- 
Jieepera (and it is but an opinion), and ie also asserted 
by most of our authors, that the bees of strong colo- 
Bies prevent the miller from entering the hive, and 
consequently all the eggs found in the hive were 
carried there accidentally by the bees. Although I 
always doubted this, yet in the absence of proof to 
the contrary, I received it as being possible j but 
thought it very strange that the bees should be so 
careless as to carry destruction into their own hive. 
Consequently, I have observed pretty closely to learn 
the true state of the case, which has led to the dis- 
coveiy as stated. As a further proof, take a comb, or 
piece of one, from any part of the strongest colony, 
in July or August, and inclose it eo carefully that it 
13 quite impossible for any insect to reach it; keep it 
warm, and in a few days it will be found to be pol- 
luted by worms, just as we find them in honey boxes, 
Wow it requires a great stretch of the imagination 
to suppose that all the eggs from which these worms 
are produced are carried by the bees, and deposited 

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80 nicely in every part of the combs, even in the ab- 
sence of positive proof. 

It is true, I have very frequently Been the miller 
in the evening alight near the entrance of hivea 
witliont apparently designing to enter, and the beea 
would run after it around the stool, or on the sides 
of the hive ; but it was generally like a sheep running 
after a dog, whenever it would turn, the bees would 
give way and get out of its track. 


I here give Mr. Quinby's method of killing worms 
in honey boxes. I had practiced it to some extent 
prior to seeing hia work, but cannot describe it better 
than by giving his own language. He aays : " Per- 
haps you may find one box in ten that will have no 
worms about it, others may contain from one to 
twenty when they have been off a week or more. 
All the eggs should have a chance to hateb, which 
in cool weather may be three weeks." (In warm 
weather all will hatch in ten days or less.) " They 
should be watched, that no worms get large enough 
to injure the combs much, before they are destroyed. 
Get a close barrel or box that will exclude the air as 
much as possible ; in this put the boxes with the 
holes or bottom open," turned downward. Arrange 
them nicely, leaving a space in one corner to set " a 
cup or dish of some kind, to hold sulphur matches 
while burning, (They are made by dipping rags or 
paper into melted sulphur.) ^Vhen all is ready, 
ignite the matchea, and cover close for several hours. 

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A little oare is required to have it jaet right: if too 
little is used, the worms are not killed; if too much, 
it gives the eomba a green color. A little experience 
will soon enable you to judge. If the worms are not 
killed Oil the first trial, another dose mi:ist be adminis- 
tered," which will effectually destroy all the worms. 
Now keep the millers out. 


1 have used pack boxes 13 inches deep by 14 wide, 
and about 2 feet 7 inches long; lids put on with 2 
inch butts, and a common chest lock ; a cleat or strip 
nailed on each side, projecting beyond the bos about 
4 inches, to form handles, securely nailed about 4 
inches from the top. A man at each end could 
handle these boxes very conveniently and safely. 
They will contain tea boxes of honey, by 6 inches 
square and 13 inches long, (which is about the com- 
mon size), or twenty boxes 6 inches square, leaving 
room at the sides and ends to secure the boxes fii-mly 
in their places, by putting slips of board or shingles 
down at the ends of the boxes and at the end of the 
pack box. No hammering should be done, as it will 
loosen the combs. When thus packed they will 
weigh from 120 to 140 iba. They may be taken to 
any desired distance, either in spring wagons, rail 
road cars or boats, if carefully handled when loading 
or unloading. Be careful to have them returned, 
and they will serve for several yeai-s. 

If honey is kept on hand for any length of time, it 
should never be in a cellar or damp place, but invati- 

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ably in a perfectly dry, well ventilated room. The 
boxes should be kept closed perfectly tight to prevent 
flies, roaches or moths from entering. 


The two greatest enemies of bees arc, first, the 
general ignorance of mankind of their natural habits, 
requirements and proper mode of management to 
render them assistance when needful, and supply their 
wants when required ; in keeping them in hives un- 
Buited to their natural wants, and in an unprotected 
manner both from the weather and from insects ; and 
in taking boney from them and permitting them to 
starve the next spring for want of it. On these points 
man (although not intending it), becomes a great 
enemy to bees. The moth and worm have been and 
are great pesta to bee-keepers, and great enemies of 
bees; yet since we have been using our improved 
movable comb-hives, and found the efficacy of feed- 
ing bees, thereby keeping them strong and vigorous, 
we experience but little loss or trouble from the 
worms. So long as a colony is properly organized 
and has plenty of honey, they will protect themselves. 
But should the woi-ms make a lodgment in any of 
our hives, lift out each comb separately, and destroy 
all that can be found; then feed the colony with a 
little syrup or honey, to stimulate the bees to greater 

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activity. If they have a queen, they will generally 
keep the worms from making further inroads upon 
them. The great majority of hives of bees that are 
caton up or destroyed by the worms, as is generally 
supposed, is either from the loss of the queen, and 
consequently the disorganization of the colony, or 
else the heea have become discouraged from lack of 
provisions, starvation staring them in the face. In 
either case, they will permit the worms to work 
away unmolested, until they will finally take pos- 
session of the entire hive. "Yet it is simply the 
effect of another cause, and not the cause itself, al- 
though generally blamed on the worms. High, cold 
winds arisingsuddenly when bees are abroad, destroy 
large quantities of thern. Birds also catch and de- 
vour some; toads, mice and rats destroy a portion, 
and spiders spread their nets to annoy and catch them. 


Bees should be kept a littie retired from the walks 
frequented by persons or beasts of any kind, as they 
sometimes become annoying. The scent of a person 
perspiring freely is very offensive to them. It is also 
dangerous to bring a horse wet with sweat very near 
to bees in warm weather, as it annoys them exceed- 
ingly, and there is great danger of the horse being 
stung to death. The season of their greatest irrita- 
bility is July and August, when the weather is 
warmest and they have plenty of honey to guard. 

If the directions given in the chapters on conquer- 
ing bees and pi-otection against being stung, are 

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observed, all needful operations can be performed 
with but little danger. In regard to remedies to al- 
lay the pain or to prevent swelling when stung, I 
never use any, and know of nothing that will always 
give relief. Sometimes ealeratus or soda, applied 
immediately, will alleviate the pain, but it as often 
fails. The poison is generally inserted so deep that 
it ia hard to reach with any remedy in time to give 



I ANSWER emphatically. Yes, it can ! and permit me 
here to say, that whoever argues to the contrary is 
either attempting to mislead and deceive the people 
or is himself deceived. Whilst I am willing to ad- 
mit that in almost any region of country where bees 
are kept, more honey is produced at certain times 
during the season than there are bees to gather and 
store it, yet if there were enough bees to fully gather 
at such times, they would starve and perish at other 
periods when but little is produced. 

But let us see how the matter stands. From the 
opening of spring until about the tenth of June, 
there is but a limited amount of honey-producing 
flowers, enough, perhaps, to supply thirty or forty 
colonies to the square mile, and enable them to ad- 
vance reasonably well until the clover season, when 

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there would be more honey than they could gather. 
Kow suppose there were four times that number to 
the aijuare mile, what would be the result ? I think 
my experience will justify me in aesuraing that one 
out of every eight would die from starvation, and 
one-third of those surviving would be in a feeble 
condition when the clover harvest arrived, and con- 
sequently it would I'equire several weeks to recruit 
their numbers and store the hive with honey, without 
yielding any profit either in swarms or surplus honey 
during the clover season, and probably none within 
the year. 

This is not a fancy sketch. I have had just such 
experience, and know well what I say. It is true, 
that by feeding bees properly during this period with 
syrup, or by cultivating flowers, very large quantities 
of bees may be kept ; but I think it must be apparent 
to every reflecting mind, that bees, like any other 
stock, requires a certain quantity of food simply to 
enable them to live without making any improve- 
ment, and that it requires a certain amount more 
to make them improve and be profitable. It is also 
evident that any given district of country produces a 
certain amount of honey each year, and if a due pro- 
portion of bees ia kept in that district, they will do 
well ; but if the proper bounds are exceeded, loss and 
disappointment will inevitably be the result. 

Any district can be overstocked with bees, on the 
same general principle that it may be overstocked 
with cattle or sheep. But this applies more directly 
to extensive apiaries. Where but a few colonies are 

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kept by a family, there ia little clanger of getting 
too many in any district. Those who design eatab- 
iiahing large apiaries would do well to seek locations 
where they would have a wide range, and not keep 
more than one hundred colouies in any one place, 
nor less than three miles between such apiaries. 

It may seem presumptuous in me to assume a 
position so different on this question to that arroga- 
ted by Rev. Mr. Langatroth in his work, but upon 
examining it carefully, I have failed to find a single 
word of his own experience related in this matter, 
His whole argument to show that this country cannot 
be overstocked with bees, is founded on statements 
made by certain German authors, of the vast quanti- 
ties kept in Germany, giving the number in each 
apiary at from two hundred up as high as five thou- 
sand colonies, and those but a short distEinee apart; 
and in some parts of Holland as many as two thou- 
sand colonies are kept to the square mile. 

Had Mr. Langstroth given us a reliable statement 
of the resources of those districts for producing 
houey, the kinds of flowers that abound there; if 
there is a uniform succession of flowers sufficient to 
supply all the wants of the bees from early spring 
imtil late in the fall, it would have greatly aided 
Amei-ican bee-keepers in arriving at the truth in 
this matter, and tended to correct error, if such 
exists. However true those statements may be as 
regards Germany, I think they cannot with propriety 
be applied to any pai-t of the United States, at least 
any portion I have seen, and I have visited many of 

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the States from the Atlantic to the Pacific. I fear 
such statements will lead many to incur loss and dis- 

One of two things is, I think, very evident: either 
that those countries are cultivated in sueh a manner 
as to produce immense quantities of honey-prodneing 
flowers, gi'eatly exceeding any thing in this country, 
or else these statements are overdrawn and exagge- 

I take the liberty of maldng some extracts from an 
article which appeared in the Ohio Farmer, written 
by Mr. Quinby, in reply to an article by E. J. Stur- 
tevant. Mr. Quinby says : " I was much interested 
in the article of E, J, Sturtevant, that appeared some 
months since in the Farmer, and veiy much regret 
that I could not be ftiUy satisfied with his reasoning. 
The subject is one in which I am deeply interested. 
Myself and partner have beea in ten diflerent apiaries, 
that are distant from each other some two or three 
miles. In spring they average about seventy stocks 
in each. Each of these yards requires the attention 
of a man constantly during the middle of the day, 
through the swarming season, some five or six weeks. 
There is also much travel, cartage of his'es, boxes of 
honey, &e. ISTow if we could bring all these bees 
into two or three yards, there would then be a much 
less number to the square mile than is said t-o be 
kept in many places in Europe, and we could save a 
hundred or two (dollars, I suppose,) by the change. 

"I will offer some reasons why I dare not do so, 
notwithsta,nding the strong authorities against me. I 

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am aware that Mr. S. is supported by Langstroth, 
Wagner and others, and I fear relies too raueh on 
their support. Notwithstanding their testimony may 
be, as he says, perfectly reliable, it may not be appli- 
cable to this country, or at least our section of it. 
There are, according to Mr. Wagner, the gentleman 
who furnished much matter for Mr. Langstroth, trans- 
lated from the German, in the honey-raising countries 
of Europe, many crops cultivated that produce great 
quantities of honey, which are unknown here. In 
this country three principal sources of honey are 
clover, bass-wood and buckwheat; where all three 
abound there must be a good district for bees, yet 
but few places produce all in abundance. The yield 
from baas-wood is of the shortest duration, and that 
from white clover the most valuable. Without one 
of these sources at hand as a dependence, it would 
be a useless effort to try to keep more than a very few 
stocks. There are many other honey-yielding flowers 
that are particular favorites with bees. The red rasp- 
berry, motherwort, catnip, and a few others, alone 
would be visited to the entire neglect of clover, if 
they were in sufficient abundance ; yet I never saw 
enough of them in anyone locality for large apiaries. 
It is evident to all, that however much honey these 
flowers may furnish, there is a limit to the supply; 
and when there are bees enough to take all that is 
secreted, if any more is introduced into the same 
field each bee must obtain a less quantity. Twenty 
hivee might prosper greatly and store a. sui-plus ; yet 
one hundred might starve in the same place." 

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Mr. Quiiiby continues to say: "I would advise a 
little caution in this matter. First, the ability of 
your district to support its hundreds, gradually and 
safely, or some unfavorable season may bring about 
very disastrous results. Kow, if by expressing these 
views I should discourage any from attempting bee- 
culture, I can only regret it; it is my experience, 
and may be of service to some that are disposed to 
rashness. All the experience and knowledge that 
can be had, ought to be clearly set forth for the benefit 
of the new beginner, 

" If we in this country cannot keep one hundred 
and forty stocks to the square mile, we can keep a 
less number ; enough, at least, in most places, to pay 
better for money invested and labor bestowed, than 
with any other kind of stock, I say this after an 
experience of over thirty years. ' The half-loaf is 
better than no bread.' Do not refuse one thousand 
dollars because it is not two. Obtain the requisite 
instruction for the proper management of bees, and 
success will follow as a matter of course." 

To this I would add, when you find your bees are 
not advancing and thriving as they should do, take 
it for granted that it is for want of suitable pasturage 
or food. Proceed at once to supply them, either by 
feeding in the manner I have directed, or by flowers 
raised for their especial benefit. It is much easier to 
cultivate and produce enough pasturage in addition 
to that from natural sources, to supply one hundred 
hives of bees, than it is to provide pasturage for one 
hundred head of sheep, and the profit on bees will 
more than double that of sheep. 

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When bees are building combs rapidly, they seem 
to require a considerable amount of water. They 
may be seen in large quantities about watering 
troughs, pumps, springs or streams of water, collects 
ing it. When a supply is not convenient to the 
apiary, it will pay to make a shallow trough, as 
described for feeding bees in ; put in a lot of gravel, 
sand, &c. and renew the water daily, leaving the 
gravel, stones and dirt partly exposed. This enables 
the bees to get the water without fear of being 

It is supposed by some writers that bees use the 
water entirely for the young brood, as well as for 
themselves; others think it is used principally in 
comb building. It may be used for both, yet I know 
that they can and do rear brood without a drop of 
water ! I have also known bees to live for forty- 
eight days (part of the time in a very warm latitude 
and part where it was moderately cold, but not suffi- 
cient to condense moisture,} without having a single 
drop of water, yet they were healthy and in good 
condition. Another fact is, that during the month 
of May and the early part of June, there is quite as 
much brood raised as at any other part of the season ; 
but as a genera! thing very little comb is built ; yet 
there is not one bee collecting water during this time 
for every ten that may be seen a little later in the 

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Beason, say tbe last of June, July and August, whon 
the largest amount of comb is built. 

I have failed to discover bees collecting water in 
warm days in winter and early in the spring, with 
that avidity and eagerness described by Jilr. Lang- 
stroth. Whatever his bees may or may not do, I am 
quite well satisfied that our bees do nothing of the 
kind. When they fly out on warm days in winter, 
and early in tiie Spring, they are weak and feeble, 
and will alight on any object around, such as boai-ds, 
fences, grass, or on the ground, and many on the 
snow, if any stiUlies on the ground. Now will any 
observing apiarian pretend to say that the object of 
these bees is to collect water ? If they do make such 
assertions, ail that is necessary to expose its fallacy, 
is to simply observe the actions of such bees. Any 
man of common sense and ordinary judgment, with- 
out any practical knowledge as a bee-man, can detect 
the error of such statements. They alight apparent- 
ly because they are unable to fly any farther until 
they void their faeces and recover strength to resume 
their flight. Thousands get chilled if the wind is 
cool, and never rise to return to the hive. 

Bees may frequently be seen collecting something 
on the ground, and even in moist places, on warm 
days in spring, I have observed them closely, the 
result of which is very accurately described by Mr. 
Quinby, as follows : " During warm days, while wait- 
ing for the flowers, the bees are anxious to do some- 
thing. It is then interesting to watch them and see 
what will be used as substitutes for pollen and honey - 

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At such times I have seen hundreds engaged on a 
heap of saw-duat, gathering the minute particles into 
little pellets on their legs, seeming quite pleased with 
the acquisition. " Thus We find that water is not the 
object of their search at this season of the year. 

In regard to giving bees water in winter, or that 
they suffer for want of it, I think it a mistake. I 
have, in common with some other apiarians, been 
endeavoring to discover some sure method of absorb- 
ing and carrying off the moisture that is generated 
by the breath of the bees during cold weather, and 
condenses on the sides and top of all hives made of 
wood (when wintered in the open air), in hard freez- 
ing weather. When it moderates, this frost or ice 
melts and runs down over the bees and combs, wet- 
ting them; and if it suddenly becomes cold again 
whilst thus damp or wet, the bees arc certain to per- 
ish. My experience has been that this wet or 
moisture is, and has ever been, the most serious dif- 
ficulty to contend with in wintering bees in the open 
air. Hundreds and thousands of colonies are lost 
yearly from this cause alone, 

Mr. Quinby, and various other eminent apiarians, 
have been striving for many years to devise some 
plan to free the bees from the effects of this accumu- 
lation of water, some ia one way and some in an- 
other. Mr. Q. has succeeded by keeping his bees in 
a warm room. I have succeeded by applying straw 
in the form of mats to absorb this water, that it may 
be carried o&', as doecribed in the chapter on winter- 
ing bees. Yet whilst this has been going on, we are 

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gravely told by Mr. Langatroth, seemingly upon the 
authority of certain Germau authoi-a, and perhaps a 
few superficial observers for perhaps osie or two 
years, and without experimenting himself to prove 
the truth or fallacy of the theory, that bees sufier 
much for want of water during winter, and he urges 
the necessity of giving them water; which I fear 
will lead many inexperieneed bee-keepers into diffi- 
culty, and result in loas and disappointment. 

After reading Mr. Langsti'otb's articles on the ne- 
cessity of giving bees water in the winter, I thought 
it possible I waa mistaken, and that under some pe- 
culiar circumstances water mighthe necessary. With 
a view of ascertaining the opinions of others that I 
knew had experimented for themselves, and also to ar- 
rive at the facts in the case, I wrote to Mr. Quinby, 
to know what his experience and views were respect- 
ing it, and find they coincide exactly with my own. 
I herewith give his letter in full in reply to my inter- 
rogatories : 

MB. quinby's letter ON watehing bees. 

St. JoKNavittK, N. Y., Jan. U\ laW. 
Me. Haebtsou : Dear Sir — ^In regard to the neces- 
sity of giving bees water during winter, I cannot say 
at present that my views are in accordance with those 
set forth by Mr. Langstroth on pages 342, 343 and 
346 of his last edition. I fear his remarka, and the 
translation fmm the German, by Mr. Wagner, will 
give very many inexperienced bee-keepers much un- 
necessary trouble. A constant supervision is indi- 

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oated as ueceaaavy to safely take the beea through the 
winter. I do not remember as any plan was given 
to keep up a supply without attention. Aa a dearth 
of water is represented as the cause of much losa, of 
course those who take this theory for fact, and ex- 
pect success, must have some trouble to provide for 
these wants. 

Not dreaming that water was essential to the health 
of the beea in winter, I have for the last twenty-iive 
years used my utmost endeavors to get rid of all 
moisture about the hive, and I have succeeded as ef- 
fectually as any one. "When put in the house, I open 
the holes in the top of the hive and then invert it on 
sticks ; a constant circulation of air through the hive 
carries with it all the moisture generated— -the combs 
remaining perfectly diy, and aa far aa I can discover, 
the bees are perfectly healthy. Instead of its being 
a general loss with this method, I have wintered hun- 
dreds of stocks with a loss of less than two per cent. 
"Why others, who take no pains, comparatively, to 
ventilate, should suffer so much more In losses than I 
do, I cannot comprehend ; that is, with this theory. 
Many years ago I became fully satisfied that nine- 
teiiths of all the good colonies lost in winter, was in 
direct consequence of confining this moisture to the 
hive. The experience of every subsequent year, 
gives additional proof to the idea. 

Respecting the particles of candied honey found on 
the bottom board, as indicating suffering for water — 
mentioned by Mr. L. — I have been unable to arrive 
at a similar conclusion ; because, whenever the room 

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ill wliich they were wintered, was cold enough to 
candy the honey, I have invariably found the greater 
part of it, after the lieea were set out, and when they 
had abundant opportunity to get water. These par- 
ticles may be seen at any time during spring, when 
the bees do not obtain sufficient honey from the 
flowers for themselves and brood, and are necessitated 
to draw on their old stores. This seems very plain 
without the theory of wanting water, as may be read- 
ily seen. In each cell only a part of the honey can- 
dies; the bees can swallow only the liquid por- 
tion, and must reject the other; this may be the case, 
although they fly out daily. When the temperature 
of the hive becomes sufficiently warm to liquefy this, 
it is no longer to be found, 

I rather suspect that Mr. L. has depended very 
mucb on the testimony of others, in this matter of 
wintering bees. In his first edition of the "Hive 
and Honey-Bce," in 1853, he recommended what he 
called a "protector," aswn/ important. In his second 
edition, he abandoned that plan, as not likely to pay, 
and suggested " special depositories." To show the 
advantages of this method, he quoted Dzierzon, and 
several pages from rae, explaining the manner of 
getting rid of this water. And now two or three 
years later, he supposes water is absolutely essential. 

In all our rural affiiira there is no branch where 
there are more conflicting theories than in bee- 
culture, especially wintering them. No one can be 
sure till ho makes a few experiments of liia own. 
Youra, truly, 
21* M, Qumsy. 

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To SKIP bees successfully to so great a distance, 
and through such a diversity of climate as is experi- 
enced on the steam ship route to California, via the 
Isthmus of Darien, at Panama, required a pretty 
correct knowledge of the habits and peculiarities of 
the bee, combined with untiring care and watchful- 
ness on the part of those who made the first successful 
shipments of bees to California, when the experiment 
was a hazardous one, the expenses being so exorbi- 
tant at that time, and the undertaking fraught with 
such serious obstacles. The experience that has been 
had for the last three years, with the present low 
rates of passage and freights, renders their shipment 
now comparatively easy, and many are engaged in it. 
Bees have been sold at high rates in California, and 
doubtless will continue to sell at very remunerative 
prices for yeara to come, from the fact that the climate 
is highly favorable, as well as that of Oregon and 
Washington Territories, Carson's Valley, Utah, &c. 

All of this vast extent of country abounds with an 
endless variety of flowers, producing immense quan- 
tities of honey. An entorpi^sing people is pouring 
in and settling up this domain of the United States, 
developing its vast mineral, agricultural and pastoral 
resources. It has been proved by actual experiment, 
that bees increase very rapidly there, and yield large 
quantities of surplus honey, fi-om seventy-five to one 

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hundred pounds to the hive during one season, which 
has sold at retail very readily for one dollar per 
pound. Good hives of bees have been disposed of 
for one hundred dollars each. As the number in- 
creases and the country becomes supplied, prices will 
doubtless recede ; yet so great is the extent of eountvy 
to be supplied, that I apprehend that prices for first- 
class stocks will not fall below fifty dollars for the 
next three or four years. At this price, or as low as 
twenty-five dollars per hive, bee-keeping on the 
Pacific coast would be one of the very best invest- 
ments and employments that a man could be en- 
gaged in. 

The immense quantities of honey that will be 
required to supply the vast mining population of 
California and the fleets of steamers, clipper ships, 
whalers and other vessels that obtain their supplies 
of provisions at Sau Francisco and other porta on the 
Pacific coast, will absorb all that can possibly be pro- 
duced and find its way to market, and demand high 
prices, although bees may be increased by importa- 
tions and swarming as rapidly as possible, for several 
years yet to come. 

I am also informed that a demand for bees is 
springing up in the Sandwich Islands. Premiums 
have been offered to those who would first introduce 
these valuable insects into those salubrious and pro- 
ductive islands, which ai'e quite accessable from the 
Pacific coast, being but twelve to fifi^cen days voyage 
from San Francisco, by sailing vessels, and much less 
by steamers ; hence, I believe that the bee trade of 

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248 liEES AND 33Bfi-KEEl'INO. 

the Paciiic will continue, aud increase in value and 
importance until it exceeds any other enterprise of a 
similar kind in the world. In fact, if we consider 
the great difficulties of first introducing hees- to Cal- 
ifornia, the immense amount of capital that has been 
and now is invested in the various depaiiments of 
the business, the energy and enterprise manifested 
by those engaged in it, together with the highly 
favorable results attending it in the shape of profits, 
it is, I apprehend, without a parallel in the history 
of bees in any age of the world. Those engaged in 
it that have been most successful, first divested them- 
selves of all preconceived notions and traditions, 
scattered broadcast over the land, and availed them- 
selves of every improvement and suggestion that 
gave promise of advancement in the science of 
bee-keeping ; hence we find many men in California, 
of comparatively short experience as apiarians, that 
are now able to teach nineteen-twentieths of our bee- 
keepers in the Atlantic States how to keep and 
manage bees to make them yield the greatest profits. 
My observations lead me to believe that but eom- 
pai'atively few persons who keep bees in the Atlantic 
States, are fully aware of the profits that may and 
ought to be realized from their bees, if properly 
managed. This will apply to almost every locality 
east of the Rocky mountains. Adopt the same 
measures here that have been practiced by bee-keep- 
ers in California; go at it with the same zeai, energy 
and perseverance there exhibited, and it will become 
one of the most productive sources of wealth which 

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oar country aflbrds. Whilst our politicians .ind 
statesmen are wrangling about slavery and protective 
tarifls, this source of national wealth, which in the 
aggregate is scarcely of secondiiry importance to 
either of them, is neglected or overlooked by the 
great mass of the people. 

Many persons have inq^uired of me if there were 
honey bees in California prior to its conquest and 
settlement by the Americans, and the discovery of 
gold. It is pretty well known to have been settled 
under the direction of rrancisean monks; large 
missionary establishments were organized at many 
of the moat prominent points in Upper California, 
nearly one hundred years ago ; yet the discovery of 
gold and the introduction of bees was reserved for 
the Americans in the nineteenth century. 

I can only conjecture wiiat are the reasons why 
no bees were found there until recently. In the first 
place, the honey bee is not indigenous to the Amer- 
ican continent, but was imported from Europe by the 
colonists who settled near the Atlantic coasts, at an 
early period in the history of America. Those early 
imported colonies increased very rapidly. Many 
swarms would doubtless fly off and locate in some 
hollow tree in the forest ; these in turn would send 
out swarms, and thus they would increase in geome- 
trical progression, spreading over the country in every 
direction, generally keeping in advance of eiviliza- 

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tion, being called by the IndianB, the white mau's fly. 
Wliilet the country remained in a wild state, nature 
furnished vast quantities of honey-producing flowers, 
one variety sueeeeding another in great profusion, 
from early spring until late in the fall, which enabled 
beea to multiply and spread over the country very 
rapidly. Their motto it seems partakes somewhat 
of the spirit of Young America in their migratory 
wanderings. " "Westward, ho !" is their watchword. 
I will here mention a circumstance that I believe 
is not noticed by any other writer. I have never yet 
observed a swarm of beea flying past me (and I have 
seen many), apparently in search of a home, nor 
indeed have I heard of one, but that was going either 
westward or southward ; although the country where 
I have made the?e observations is a timber one, with 
no perceptible difference in any direction. This fact is 
signiflcant. I have no doubt they have spread both 
to the north and east, yet the great tide of emigra- 
tion is to the west and south, until they have reached 
the last outatii-ts or belts of timber found between 
the Missouri river and the Eocky mountains. Here 
their progress westward seems to have been effectu- 
ally checked hy those vast prairies and deserts, to- 
gether with the Kocky and Sierra Nevada mountains, 
which intervene. It would seem, and no douht has 
been, quite impoasihie for them to pass those gigan- 
tic barriers and reach (unaided by man) the flowery 
plains of California, That they have made the at- 
tempt I have no doubt. The Mr. Rose spoken of in 
another part of this work, informs me that many 

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miles westward of any timber, on those vast prairies 
between the Missouri and Rocky mountains, he has 
fonnd awanns of bees that had evidently flown until 
exhausted, and settled down in the grass, and there 
built a pyramid of combs during summer ; but being 
in so unprotected a condition, they would doubtless 
be destroyed by the rains and storms of winter, or 
by the bears, who are fond of honey; if indeed they 
should escape destruction by the autumnal lires that 
annually sweep over those plains. 

It is related by Col. Fremont, that when he was 
on one of the highest peaks of the Eocky moun- 
biins a bee came to him and flew around, apparently 
as an omen of good; but it was what is called 
(improperly so,) a humble bee, and not one of our 
domestic honey bees. 

Katural obstructions are equally great to prevent 
bees from reaching California from the south (from 
Mexico,) by way of the Colorado river. The greater 
portion of the country in that direction is sterile, and 
of such a character that bees could not exist in it or 
pass over it. Hence I conclude that it was quite 
impossible for bees of themselves to reach California. 
The time required to make the voyage from anj' 
Atlantic port, either in Europe or America, via Cape 
Horn, was so great, that bees would certainly perish 
before their arrival, if indeed the effort was ever 
made by those early missionaries, The difficulty of 
transporting them across the Isthmus of Darien, and 
thence by sea to California, would involve a greater 
amount of labor and difficulty than Spaniards in 

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those early times were willing to undertake. Thia 
would also apply to taking them by land from the 
Mexican States to California. 

One of two things is certain, either that the effort 
was never made by those early Spanish settlers to 
import bees to California, or if it was made, it proved 
to be a failure ; for none were found when the Amer- 
icans took possession of California, nor in fact for 
Bome years afterward. 


In February, 1853, Mr. 0. A. Shelton, formerly of 
Galveston, Texas, sailed from Wew York with twelve 
hives of bees (in which it is said Commodore Stock- 
ton and G. "W". Aspiuwall were interested) ; he arrived 
at San Francisco in March, with but one living col- 
ony, eleven having died whilst in transit. This was 
the pioneer hive of bees on the Pacific coast. Mr. 
Shelton, with his hive of bees, took passage on a little 
steamer from Sail Francisco to Alviso; on the trip 
she burst her boiler, killing several persons, Mr. 
Shelton being of the lamented number; but bis bees 
escaped unhurt, and were taken to San Jose, where 
they did well. 

Some time during the autumn or winter of 1854, 
Messrs. Buck and Appleton, of San Jose, received 
the next swarm of bees that arrived in California. 
In the fall of 1855, my brother and partner in busi- 
ness, J. S. Harbison, sent east by a friend who was 
making a visit, for a hive of bees, which he received 

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in Sacramento the flrsfc of Tebraary, 1856. But a 
very aniall colony, with the queen, survived the long 
voyage, and with proper care they increased and did 
well. The result of this experiment clearly demon- 
strated the fact, that if properly prepared and carefully 
handled, faeea could be sneceasfully imported in large 
quantities, and if once there, that they would increase 
rapidly and produce large quantities of honey. With 
this asaurance, he returned home m June, 1857. 
Being advised by letter, we had commenced to pre- 
pare stocks in a suitable manner for shipment. He 
completed the prepai'atton after his arrival, and again 
started for the land of gold, sailing from New York 
on the fifth of ITovember, with sixty-seven colonies. 
On arriving at Aspinwall, circnmstanees being favor- 
able, he opened the boxes and permitted the bees to 
fiy out and clean themselves, which no doubt greatly 
assisted in preserving their health during the rest of 
the voyage. He arrived safely at Sacramento on the 
first of December, having lost but five colonies on the 
way ; others had been reduced in numbers until quite 
weak. By uniting ail such together, making strong 
stocks at the expense of numbers, they were reduced 
to fifty ; sixteen of these were sold, leaving but thirty- 
four, which were increased during the ensuing sum- 
mer to one hundred and twenty, all of which were 
sold during the fall and winter, except six, yielding a 
handsome profit on the investment. 

This was the first large and successful shipment 
of bees made to California. Others were made about 
the same time, but with very indifferent 

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which was owing, to a great extent, to the want of 
practical knowledge on the part of those having them 
in charge. 


Boxes were made of boards ftha thick, one foot 
square and six inches high. Into these the combs, 
beea and all, were transferred in June, when honey 
was plenty and young queens matured readily. The 
combs were cut to fit neatly into these boxes, leaving 
proper spaces between, and braced with sti-ips of 
wood, being careful to have combs in each box that 
had eggs in. The bees were now divided and a por- 
tion put in each box, there being enough comb and 
bees in an ordinary sized hive to fill two or three of 
these boxes. Those that were without queens sup- 
plied themselves from egg^ found in the combs. In 
this way we found no difficulty in making nearly an 
average of three well organized little colonies from 
one old stock. Any spaces left for want of combs 
were filled in by the bees themselves; they also 
fastened up the old combs thus transferred from the 
old hive, very nicely and securely. Being permitted 
to work in these boxes from June until the close of 
the season, they were well stored with honey and 
pollen for their long journey, and in a compact, port- 
able shape 

To these boxes we added another box at the side 
(when packing them np to ship), three inches by six, 
and one foot long, having iirst made a large opening 
in the side, and securing these boxes by tacking 

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strips on either side. This served as a vacant cham- 
ber tor the bees to occupy when suffering from 
extreme heat in hot latitudes. Proper openings were 
made on each side, and covered with wire cloth, to 
give a current of air through the box, which, with 
tlie addition of the vacant air chamber, is twelve by 
fifteen inches long and six inches in height. Two 
of these formed one package, one set on top of the 
other, being covered with oiled cloth to keep out wet, 
and securely fastened with heavy twine, forming a 
loop at the top, which served as a handle to carry 
them by. A package of this kind, consisting of two 
colonies, measures less than one and a half cubic 
feet, being a great saving over ordinaiy sized hives, 
as freight and charges are estimated by the foot from 
New York to San Francisco, and at such high rates 
that every foot saved in size is important. 

Our improved movable comb hive being perfected 
by J. S. Harbison, of the firm of "W. 0. t J. S. Har- 
bison, soon after arriving with the bees they were 
transferred, and worked in them very successfully and 


Our first shipment of bees to California being 
successful and profitable, we resolved to prepare a 
larger lot, and ship them the following year, but in 
a little different form from the first lot, retaining the 
same general principles in a more convenient and 
pmctieal shape ; in short, wo determined to transfer 
bees, with their combs, &c. from common box hivea 

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into the improved movable frames of the proper size 
to fit the hives, thirteen inches in height by twelve 
in width. 

Having received a model of the frame and suitable 
box for shipping, I had boxes made of boards ftha 
thick, fourteen inches square and twenty inches long, 
with a partition in the centre, making a convenient 
receptacle for two colonies with six frames in each, 
having a cross-bar w"ith gains cut in it for the projec- 
tion 01 the upper part of the frame to rest in, leaving 
a vacant space or chamber at front edge of the frames 
of one and one-half by ten inches wide> and four- 
teen deep. At the foot or opposite angle of the frame 
a cross-bar, with gains cut in it to receive the tenon of 
the frame, was nailed in the bottom, which held the 
frames firmly in their place. Openings for the bees 
to pass in and out were made for one colony in front 
and one in the rear. The lid was left movable. 

Having boxes and frames thus prepared, I com- 
menced, in the last week of May, to transfer bees 
from box hives into these frames, fastening the combs 
with metallic braces, dividing the combs, hees, &c. 
so as to make two colonies from one. Those des- 
titute of a queen would supply themselves (in the 
manner described in the chapter on rearing queens). 
Some of these I again divided during the season, 
making three and in some eases four colonies from 
one old stock, dry combs being supplied to some 
extent from other sources. They continued to work 
in these small boxes during the remainder of the sea- 
son, storing them well with provision for the winter. 

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. A part of the shipment I thus prepared here and 
the balance was prepared in the same manner at 
Centralia, Illinois, by A. Harbison, and shipped from 
thence to Kew York. Preparatory to shipping, the 
lids were nailed down ; wire cloth was tacked over 
the openings to ventilate properly ; oiled muslin was 
put over the top to protect them from being injured 
by rain or spray ; heavy twine was rove around the 
box, about the middle of each division, and again 
lengthwise, forming a loop or top for convenient 
handling. Two colonies thus prepared were but 
little larger than one ordinary sized hive, and of con- 
venient portable shape. 

I decided to accompany this shipment, and spend 
a few months in California, for the purpose of ob- 
serving the efleets of so great a change of climate and 
circumstances, and increasing my Icuowledge of the 
habits and peculiarity of the honey bee. Accord- 
ingly, on the 15th of iNovemher, 1858, in company 
with my brother, J, S. Harbiaoiij we started in charge 
of our bees to l^ew York, en route for California. 
On reaching New York we found the steamship 
Moses Taylor was to sail. Being quite small, and not 
aftbrding suitable deck room for the safety of bees, 
we concluded to remain until the departure of the 
next steamer, causing a delay of two weeks On the 
6th of December, however, we sailed, and after a 
pleasant voyage arrived at Aspinwall on the 13th. 
"Whilst in the Caribbean sea, the bees suffered con- 
siderably from the extreme heat. Wo kept an awn- 
ing suspended over them, to protect them from the 

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hot sun, and had them arranged iu tiers on the 
hurricane deck, so that a current of freah air was 
constantly passing between and around tliem. At 
Aspinwall we had them placed in an express car to 
cross the Isthmus, and obtained permission to remain 
in the car with them, for the purpose of keeping the 
side doora open to give a free circulation of air. Ar- 
rived at Panama, they were placed in an open boat or 
lighter, which was taken in tow by a steam tug and 
run alongside the steamship, which lay at anchor 
some three miles from the dock. "We had them care- 
fully handled, and kept them shaded from the snn ; 
but so intense was the heat, that they suffered very 
much. Ilad they been exposed to the direct rays of 
the sun, the combs would have melted in a few min- 
utes. "We sailed from Panama on the morning of 
the 15th, and arrived off Cape St. Lucas on the 24th, 
where we met cold, chilly winds, making it necessary 
to close up our bees a little, and shelter them from 
the weather; without this precaution they would 
have been seriously affected by the sudden change 
from extreme heat to cold. Arriving at San Fran- 
cisco on the evening of the 29tb, we shipped on 
steam boat for Sacramento, and reached there on the 
morning of the Slat. 

The bees had remained in close confinement all this 
time, forty-seven days. We found but eleven dead 
out of one hundred and fourteen, one hundred and 
three having survived the long and tedious voyage. 
This number we reduced by uniting those that had 
become weak, making one strong stock from two or 

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more weak onea. We lifted each comb out of the 
boxes, and after cleaning them carefully, transferred 
bees and all into hivea that were prepared to receive 
them ; the frames fitting nicely, it required but a few 
minutes to ti-anafer a colony. Thus ia a short time 
we had them working in clean new hives. "We fed 
them syrup daily whilst a scarcity of honey existed 
(in the manner described in the chapter on feeding), 
which caused them to breed very rapidly. 

After the closo of our sales of bees, we had, on the 
fifteenth of March, 1859, sixty-eight colonies, which 
we reserved aa stock to propagate from ; this stock 
was increased during the summer to four hundred 
and twenty-two, by dividing, or artificial awarme, 
without a single natural swarm in the whole lot! 
being an increase of five and one-fifth from each col- 
ony, all of which, with a very few exceptiona, were 
strong, well filled, vigorous stocks for wintering. Of 
this number two hundred and eighty-four were sold 
at one hundred dollars each. The remaining one 
hundred and thirty-four colonies we retained to prop- 
agate from during the present summer of 1860. 

Whilst in California, I visited all the principal 
bee-keopers in the State, although scattered over a 
great district of country. I found bees every where 
prospering and increasing beyond any thing I had 
ever before seen in any of the Atlantic States. The 
moth or worms appear harmless, affecting the bees 
but little, although they seem sufficiently numerous 

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260 BEES AN1> LEE-KEEPli^G. 

to levy contributions on them there as extensively as 
in the older States. The reason I assign for the 
difference is, the nights are quite cool, when the 
days are hot, sufficiently so to chill the miller and 
retard her in her nocturnal excursions for depositing 
eggs, as night is the time she selects for this purpose. 
Another reason is, there is a continuous succession 
of houey-prodneiiig flowers, keeping the bees en- 
couraged, vigorous and healthj' during the season 
when most infested by worms, and consequently they 
will defend themselves more warmly against their 

I noticed two' peculiarities in the natural history 
and habits of the bee in California. The first is, that 
ali young bees come to maturity from two to fom- 
days sooner than they do in Pennsylvania. The 
other, that the swarms have a much greater propen- 
sity for flying away and seeking homes for themselves 
than in the Atlantic States. These are problems for 
naturalists to solve ; I merely state the facts, leaving 
my readers to judge of the cause. 

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At any time of year, from the first warm days in 
spring until the close of warm weather in the autumn, 
when little if any honey can be obtained abroad in 
the fields, bees are apt to rob. The times when most 
clanger is to he apprehended, is early in the spring 
and late in the antnmn ; the most serious losses in 
this region of country have been after the close of 
the buckwheat season. The prime moving cause has 
been, as far as rny observation extends, the loss of 
C[ueens, in the manner described in the chapter on 
loss of queens. Bees from other hives, when honey 
becomes scarce abroad, and they are yet anxious to 
add to their supplies, find out those disorganized and 
feeble colonies, destitute of queens, well knowing 
that they will make but little resistance, and com- 
mence to carry ofl' their honey. When they get 
fairly started, all the bees in the apiary will take 
part, and in a few hours become so much excited 
(and this excitement often extends to neighboring 
apiaries), as to attack even very strong hives, conquer 
them and cany off their honey. In this ease a furious 
battle generally ensues, before a well organized col- 
ony will submit to be thus plundered. 


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The priueipa,! cause of robbing, is the desire to 
increase their stores of honey, so strongly implanted 
in the nature of the bee. Like the miser and dis- 
honest man, so long as their treasures are being filled, 
all is well, no matter from whence it conies or how 
unjustly it may be accLuired, 

When the flowers cease to supply honey, and the 
weather is warm, bees are constantly out searching 
in every direction for it, and hence they are easily 
attracted by a hive standing in the apiary with honey, 
the bees of which are unable to protect it. This is 
the most common cause of fatal robberies. A dish 
of honey, or even a box or comb, exposed carelessly 
until they find it, and thus become excited, often 
starts them to robbing ; or carelessly feeding a weak 
colony with either honey or syrup, readily attracts 
them. Colonies thus fed should be kept closed up, 
so that not more than one or two bees could pass at 
one time. In fact, when feeding bees, it is well to 
do it in the evening, when it will generally be taken 
up during the night and stored away, obviating any 
danger from this source. 


But little danger need be apprehended from rob- 
bing, if all the stocks in the apiary are properly cared 
for and examined, upon the least suspicion of the 
loss of the queen, or of having become weak from 
any other cause, and applying the proper remedy in 
time. In short, if bee-keepers will give 'their bees 

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praper care and attention, such as has been indicated 
and directed in this treatise, there is very little dan- 
ger of loss from this cause. 


When bees get fairly started robbing, there is nO 
mistaking the fact. They will be gathered thick 
around the hive, seeking an entrance at every crack 
or joint, and wiJl be seen ia considerable quantities 
in an excited manner at the firsfonset, fighting even 
after the bees of the hive have ceased to make re- 
sistance. They sometimes engage in combat, as I sup- 
pose, when bees from other hives make their appeai'- 
ance to claim a part of the prey which those first 
in possession rightly claim as their own. When 
robbers are carrying off honey, it can be detected by 
watching those that pass out. If they fly as if heavy 
laden, you may take it for granted that they are 
robbing; but if they leave the hive in a straight line, 
nimble and light, which they generally do whilst in 
legitimate pursuits, it is good evidence that alt is well. 
Robbers maybe known by their buzzing around in a 
thieving manner, and peeping in at the cracks of the 
hive, as if spying out the condition of their neighbors. 

When you flrat discover a propensity to robbing, 
be careful to close up the entrance of all weak stoekS;, 
BO that not more than one or two bees can pass at 
one time. If the robbers collect in numbers at any 
one hive, sprinkle flour over them, and then watch 

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264 Bees and bee-keeping. 

carefully and fiud tlie liives tn which they belong. 
It is goneraily strong stocks that commence iirst. It" 
the proper hives can be fonnd, shut them up closely, 
to prevent their ingress or egress, being always care- 
ful to ventilate the hive to admit plenty of air, lest 
they be smothered. Let them stand shut up thus 
until near sunset, when those that are abroad will 
enter; in the mean time they will be on the alighting 
board and around the hive, seeking to enter, but no 
danger or loss will ensue from this cause, 

■When they have got fairly started to rob, and the 
whole apiary is in an uproar, the only reliable and 
sure remedy I have ever found, is to proceed imme- 
diately and close up every hive, both weak and strong, 
in the apiaiy (being always careful to ventilate prop- 
erly) ; keep them thus until near sunset, then open 
all at once, when all that are oiitaide will return 
into the hive. Then close them up again, either 
about dark or early next morning before any goes 
abroad; keep tlicm closed until evening, and again 
open them. This course will completely nonplus 
the robbers. If those principally engaged in it are 
stoclcs in the apiary, shutting them up thus discomfits 
them completely for the time being ; and should they 
be from a neighboring apiary, they will soon get dis- 
couraged, when they find all doors closed against 
them, and give it up. But in any case they are likely 
to renew their attack at some future time. 

Our hives are peculiarly well adapted to close up 
to prevent robbing, being thoroughly ventilated from 
the graduated air chamber below. The front slide 

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and tiQ caps are so convenieutly arranged as to be 
closed or opened in a few momenta, if necessary. A 
large nimiber of stocks can thus be closed np in a 
short time. 



All small or weak swarms, in autumn, that may 
be in movable comb hives, should be united, putting 
two or more together, sufficient at least to form a 
strong colony, and have an abundance of honey to 
keep them over winter. Proceed as follows, in the 
evening is the best time : Open the hives, blow smoke 
freely into each of them, which serves to scent all 
alike, to prevent fighting, as well as to render them 
docile whilst operating upon ; then proceed to put 
the combs, bees and all, into one hive, by lifting out 
the combs with the bees adhering to them, setting 
aside such as contain the least honey. Should the 
combs be new, and the frames but partially filled, it 
is well to exchange some of them for frames con- 
taining older and larger combs, from some strong 
colony that can best spare thera. It would be ad- 
visable to take but one, or at moat two combs from 
any one hive. Bees should always be brushed off 
these combs into their own hive, before removing 
them. When the operation ie completed, and the 

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union thus formed, and all the straggling beee col- 
lected into one hive, shut it up, ventilating properly. 
Keep it thus closed until sunset the next day, then 
open it and again shut it up next morning, before 
they begin to fly; open again in the evening, per- 
mitting them to fly. Early next morning blow a 
little smoke into the hive, or rap on it; by this 
means when they fly out, supposing they have been 
removed, they will be careful to take a new reckon- 
ing, and all return to the hive ; otherwise those 
moved from another stand, and united in the new 
stand, will return and be lost. 


It is more difficult to unite weak stocks that are 
in bos hives, yet it can be done as tbllows: Blow 
smoke freely into each stock yon wish to operate 
upon ; invert both hives ; with a thin-bladed knife 
cut the points of the combs square, in the hive that 
has the etraightest combs; pry off the side of the 
other hive with a chisel or hatchet; now cut the 
fastenings of the combs at the sides and top, set 
these in crosswise of those already in the hive, first, 
however, boring two holes in each side of the hive 
fths of an inch ; provide two sticks to fit, point them 
nicely, and push them through each comb from the 
one side as they are put in, until all are in — those 
sticks penetrate the holes on the opposite side. 
Take lumps of wax, or pieces of combs, and put 
between the combs, bridging them clear across to 
keep them the proper distance apart. The bees 

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should be all put in just aa they adhere to the comba . 
Now close the hive by tacking a thin cloth over it, 
and let it stand inverted in a shop or other conve- 
nient place, for three or four days, or until the beea 
have time to attach these combs firmly, when they 
can be set out again, 

I prefer to perform all these operations at night in 
the shop ; then all the straggling beea will collect in 
the hive, when they can be closed "up early in the 

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OHAPTEll XXiri. 



This is a part of my subjoet which leads directly 
upon controverted ground. Nothiog, perhaps, has 
given rise to a wider range of opinions and theories 
than wintering bees in cold latitudes. To get a cor- 
rect knowledge of the nature of bees, and to fuily 
comprehend their wants and requirements, divests 
the subject of ranch of that mystery and darkness 
that has long enveloped the wintering of bees. I 
have not time at present to dwell at length on this 
subject, and therefore will confine myself principally 
to the mode of wintering bees that has proved the 
most successful and satisfactory with us, and which 
appears to be the most in accordance with the nat- 
ural habits of the bee, and which I can recommend 
for general praetieo by all classes of bee-keepers, 
embracing every degree of latitude, from the warmest 
to the coldest. 

There are really but two modes of wintering bees 
in cold latitudes that are worthy of any notice; the 
first of these is (and I believe the most natural) win- 
tering them in the open air, being properly protected. 
The second, is to winter them in close, dark rooms, 

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£ach of these plaua has its advocates, its advantages 
and disadvantages. 

My object has been to ascertain the best practical 
method of wintering bees; one best calculated to 
suit the cireumstancea of the greatest number of 
bee-keepers. I have tried all the different plans sug- 
gested that gave promise of success, and have found 
the most uniform eueeess in wintering our bees in 
the open air, having them properly protected from 
wind and snow, lining the sides and tops of the hives 
with sti-aw mats (removing a comb from each side in 
movable comb hives), and ventilating properly to 
promote the escape of vapor and moisture. By this 
arrangement we combine all the advantages possessed 
by the straw hive (and all apiarians agree that they 
are a superior kind of hives for wintering bees in,) 
with the wooden hives, which are more easily con- 

In the first place, our hives are constructed so that 
of themselves they afford the bees a very considerable 
degree of pi-otection from the effects of winds and 
snows in. winter. The bottom board is an inclined 
plane, and stationary, the openings being condensed 
for wintering, having no openings on the back part of 
the hive, and consequently no current of wind passing 
through or under the hive, as is the case where hives 
are open and raised up from the bench, ^ving the 
wind a clear sweep between it and the stool, and 
often drifting the snow up between the combs and 
constantly carrying off the heat generated by the 
bees. Our hives are eo constructed, that a cun-ent of 

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fresli ftir is constantly passing from the gnidnatiiig air 
chamber below, to supply the bees. The wind can 
be entirely excluded from penetrating in front when 
desired. Thus much for protection aiForded by the 
hive itself. 

In addition to this, we surround our apiary with a 
close board fence about seven feet high, making a 
very effectual breakwind, shielding the bees vei-y 
much from the fierce blasts and driving storms of 
winter. Whilst the cold winds are roaring aronnd 
and above the apiary, the air is comparatively calm 
down near the bees, and consequently the effects of 
the cold are very materially lessened. This break- 
wind is of great value in the spnng and early part of 
the summer, as well as winter. In cool, Avindy days 
bees will return home heavy laden, being somewhat 
chilled by the cold, and in their descent to the hive 
drop down on the ground, where they would prob- 
ably perish if the cold wind continued to reach 
them ; but when protected from it, especially when 
tbe sun is shining, they will recover and take wing 
again, if too far to crawl, and still reach home in 

"Where but few bees are kept, they should be thus 
protected by an inclosure of proportionate size ; but 
where it cannot be done conveniently, take long 
straw, inclose the top end tightly in a band, forming 
a cap or hudder, and set it over the hive. It should 
be two or three inches thick, and project below the 
bench or stool, and be firmly bound to the hive by 
passing one or more bands around, enveloping the 

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straw. The straw, for the space of five or six inches, 
should ho cut off with a sharp knife, a little ahove 
the ffout entrance, leaving the bees a clear open pas- 
sage. This cap of straw should be pat on, on the 
approach of cold weather in the fall, and may be 
permitted to remain until the opening of spring. It 
forma no obstruction to the free ingress and egress 
of the bees during warm days in winter and early 
spring. If properly ventilated, and the mice keep 
out, bees will winter safely in this way. It is but 
little trouble, and suits careless bee-keepers very well. 

But the great difficulty has been, in wintering bees 
in the open air in all kinds of hives made of wood, 
to get rid of the moisture generated in the hive 
by the breath of the bees, which condenses on the 
sides and top of the hive- in very cold weather, ac- 
cumulating, at times, until the bees are completely 
enveloped in a sheet of frost and ice to the thickness 
of over half an inch. This frost and ice will melt 
the first warm day, and trickle down over the bees, 
where they are clustered on or between the combs, 
wetting them ; and frequently the weather will 
suddenly change and freeze very hard the following 
night. Under such circumstances I have seen colo- 
nies frequently frozen to death, which, if they had 
been perfectly dry, would have aui-vived the winter 
without any difficulty. 

Then again, if hard freezing weather continues for 
several weeks without intermission, which frequently 
occurs in this latitude, this moisture will be con- 
stantly thrown off by the bees, filling the pores of 

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the wood and every thing in the hive that will absorb 
it, until completely saturated (when condensed form- 
ing the enveiope of frost and ice already described), 
and the atmosphere becomes humid and incapable 
of taking up any more, and it gradually settles 
around the bees. Being thus unable to throw off 
this moisture, their bodies become distended with 
fsBces, causing many to leave the cluster and crawl 
toward the entrance to void their -filth, when they 
become chilled and are unable to return again, and 
thus miserably perish. Thousands are !ost in this 
way, and those that survive until the weather mod- 
erates, and enables them to fly out, are found to be 
in a very unhealthy condition ; unable to fly any 
distance, dropping on the ground or on any object 
around, seemingly unable to void their feces. Vast 
quantities perish thus, being unable to return to the 
hive. I have seen many colonies thus depopulated. 
The healthy bees that would remain being too few in 
number to maintain sufiieient heat to mature brood, 
although the queen was apparently all right, the 
number would gradually decrease, and finally, queen 
and all, die. liees from other hives would discover 
its defenseless condition, and carry ofi" the honey, 
some warm day, if not removed or closed up. I have 
frequently seen hives lost in this manner. I exam- 
ined several during the last year, and found the 
queen and a dozen or two workers only remaining, 
with honey and pollen in abundance. Many hives 
of bees are lost annually all over the country, the 
true cause of which is not even suspected by the 

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owner ; and in many cases the loss is not observed 
until bees from other hives are carrying cub the 
honey. Then it is supposed to have been attacked 
and robbed by them. 

This difficulty ia not peculiar to any one form of 
hives {most fatal in broad flat hives), but ia common 
to all hives composed of wood, unless the proper 
remedy is applied to absorb and carry off this mois- 
ture. It never occurs in atraw hives, from the fact 
that the straw of which the hive is composed absorbs 
all the moisture from the bees as fast as it is gen- 
erated, and passes it off to the surrounding atmos- 
phere, thereby freeing the bees from its injurious 


Being well aware of the superiority of straw hives 
over wooden ones for wintering bees in, and the 
difficulty of constructing them in a neat and practi- 
cal shape being much greater than wood, I resolved 
to apply straw in the form of mats inside the mov- 
able comb hives, to act as an absorbent to take up and 
carry off the moisture, and thus combine the superior 
qualities of the straw hives for wintering bees with 
the more conveniently constructed and substantial 
hives made of wood. 

"With this object in view, I set to work to Invent 
some plan to construct straw mats in a cheap and 
simple form, combining neatness and durability, and 
in such manner as to be easily adjusted to any style 
of movable comb hive. In this I have succeeded, at 
least to ray own satisfaction, in the following manner : 

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I get out for each mat two strips of soft wood, one- 
half iueh wide, fths thick, the length to suit the 
depth of the mat required ; two strips of leather, 
duck, drilling, or any strong cloth, one-half or one 
inch, and double it. Take clean, straight straw of 
any kind most convenient (either rye or wheat is 
beat), cut it in lengths to suit the width of the hive ; 
ours is thirteen inches inside. Lay down the strips 
of wood (on iron bars, if possible,) about nine inches 
apart. Place your sti'aw across them to the depth of 
one and a half or two inches, and put the strips of 
leather or cloth immediately above the strips of 
wood; tack them through the wood with six ounce 
tacks, very near the ends. Draw the strips tight and 
tack them in the same manner near the other end. 
Be careful to adjust the straw square across the 
strips, and of an equal thickness from one end to the 
other. Take twenty ounce tacks, drive one through 
the eenti'e of each strip, clinching on the iron under- 
neath the strip of wood. Divide the spaces again 
about in the centres, and tack through, clinching 
every time until there is a tack to about every one 
and a fourth inches in each strip. Cut the ends of 
the straw square with large shears, or with a hatchet 
on a block ; trim off any loose straws. In this way 
you can make a mat almost as stiff as a board, and 
one that will stand almost any amount of knocking 
about; being so firm they are not objectionable to 
the bees. I prefer this mode of making mats, but 
there are other ways quite as convenient. 

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I sometimes made them in the following manner, 
which is aiao very simple, and anawera the purpose 
very well : Take four strips of wood, the length to 
suit the depth of the mat; they may either be round 
or have the corners rounded off, and about fths 
diameter. Prepare straw same as in the first in- 
stance. Place two of these strips about nine or ten 
inches apart ; across these put straw about two inches 
deep, on top of which place the other strips imme- 
diately above the fii«t. Bind tlie ends of these 
together with twine, to hold all the parts to their 
places. Now take a collar needle and twine, and 
sew it through, passing the twine each time around 
these strips, binding them aa firmly together as pos- 
sible, thus making a very nice mat. 

The strips of wood may be dispensed with entirely, 
and simply pass the twine around and sew through 
the straw, passing the twine each time over the one 
,iii the opposite direction. In this way very nice 
mats can be made. Other plans may he adopted for 
making them. The point I claim is applying mats 
of straw inside the hive to absorb moisture. They 
should he made about from one to one and a half 
inches thick, juat right to fill the spaces of the combs 
that were removed. 


On the approach of winter, take the frames or combs 
next to the sides of the hive out, and put a mat in 
the place they occupied. If a sash with glass is 

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tliB hive for nintenrg bees Hos 1 No. 1 

shows the atnps of leather on the i. wJo „.. „ -oolis ara 

driven the bends ol irbicb ore ehowi No 2 shoivs the strips of trood on 
the nppar side of llie mat thro yh wbioh the tack is driven and olenehe'l. 

To arracga theee mats OQ the apprmoh of winter, remove a oomh or frame 
from each side of the hive, and in Uieic plnce insert a mat, as shown by 
flgurea 3 and 4. E«niovo tho honey-board from tha top of the frames, aiiJ 
put a Biat in its place, ai soon in Sgnre 2, Romovo Ilia glass from the renf 
of the frame, and insert a mat, as reprBsented by figure 1, whicli wili, when 

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{nMperly ndjiisled, cover tho eniiro apace from figure 3 to figure 4, tliii^ in- 
oloeing Ibn whole colony with those mats. 

The Qomha wliioh are thus romoved, together with tko glasB Bnd honey- 
board, should ba earefully preaeired, to bo returned to their appropriate 
pliioes on the opening of spring. The door and lid of the liivo should now ba 
closed, leaving the hole neat tho top of the door open for the vapor and foul 
air to pass of^ thua fonning n current of air (coaslanil; duiing winter), pnse- 
ing in at the entrance and from the graduated air chamber and np through 
the hive, carrying off all moisture which is absorbod by the mats as fast as 
generated by the bees, and entirely removing the dif&cuity that has hith- 
erto existed in whitoring bees in the open air. 

used, as in our hive, remove it and put a mat in its 
place. Remove the honey-board and place a mat on 
top of the frames, immediately over the bees, thua 
Burrouiiding them with winter mats on three sides 
and over the top. If the hive is provided with about 
two inch holes above this top mat, all the nioisture 
generated by the bees will be taken up by the mats 
and passed off in the form of vapor, keeping the hive 
and bees perfectly dry, as well as affording much 
greater warmth to the bees. 

Combs thus removed to give place to the mats, 
Bhould be placed carefully in- a honey-room or in a 
suitable box ; and in the spring remove the mats and 
return the combs to the hives. In spring the mats 
should be strung on twine, and hung up in some dry, 
clean room, where they will be kept free from dust 
and flith. With proper care they will last for many 

A short time ago I wrote to Mr. Quinby, to ascer- 
tain his views respecting the efficiency and value of 
these winter mats. I give his ro'jAj verbatim : 

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St. JoHSflViii..;, N. Y., February, 18G0. 

Mr. "VY. C. Hakbtson : Dear Sir— Yours of Jan 
uary 27th is at hand. For wintering beea out-doors, 
I think yonr straw mats ninst be valuable. Although 
I never tried them, I can easily comprehend some of 
their advantages. When bees are wintered in the 
open air, the moisture generated by them forming 
fi-ost, iee, &e. is the cause of much mischief, when 
the air passages are closed, or nearly ao. When the 
hive is properly ventilated to got rid of this moisture, 
so much of the animal heat escapes with it, that 
the bees suffer with cold, and many small colonies 
actually freeze to death. H'ow it appears to me, that 
by surrounding the combs with straw mats so much 
of the moisture will be absorbed as to be in no dan- 
ger of checking the air passages with frost, conse- 
quently less ventilation will be necessary, and the 
bees will be warmer on this account, aa well as the 
warmth afforded by the mats otherwise. 

I winter my bees io the house usually ; biit should 
I have occasion to leave some out, I shall certainly 
want to try them, 

M. QaiNBY. 


So important and so valuable has the invention 
and application of these winter mats proved, now 
that movable comb hives of various kinds are being 
generally adopted by bee-keepers, that I have applied 
to the Commissioner of Patents for letters patent 
Becuring to me the benefits of the invention. These 

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winter mate are equally applicable to any kind or 
Btyle of movable comb or leaf bee hives; or in 
common chamber or box hives, a mat may be put in 
the chamber with great advantage, simply removing 
the honey boxes and leaving the holes open imme- 
diately above the bees. A very considerable amount 
of moisture will be thus absorbed, which would pass 
up through the openinga, particularly if large. 


A warm climate seems to be the natural place for 
bees, yet like many other kinds of domestic stock, 
they will live and thrive in almost any climate where 
flowers abound to produeo honey and pollen, and 
there is sufficient warm weather to permit them to 
lay up supplies for winter use, providing they are 
properly protected from the rains and storms, to- 
gether with incidental protection fi'om extreme cold. 

Bees in this climate, wh^n left to themselves to 
seek a location, usually select a cavity or hollow in 
the trunk or limb of a tree in the forest, which is 
generally oblong in shape; here they build their 
combs, having a much greater depth than width. 
When the bees cluster for winter, they will assume a 
neat compact shape, commencing at the bottom of 
the combs and extending upward to a height in 
proportion to tlie size of the colony. Thus clustered 
they are similar to a sugar loaf, with the large end 
up. This form secures the greatest economy of ani- 
mal heat, which, by a law of nature, always ascends, 
and serves to warm the combs and honey a little 

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above and in advance of the bees, who invariably 
cluster on the approach of winter upon the empty 
portion of the combs at the bottom, the upper end 
of the cluster overlapping that part filled with honey, 
thus keeping a euffieient amount for immediate use 
always warm, from which they draw their daily sup- 
port during the continuance of cold weather, and ae 
the honey is consumed, necessity req^uirea the bees to 
aaceiid higher and higher to keep near their supplies. 
Should the depth of corah immediately above them 
be sufficient to afford this, they will winter finely; 
but if they should reach the top during very cold 
weather, although there may be plenty of honey in 
other parts of the hive, they will starve to death. If 
they leave the cluster to pass over or around inter- 
vening combs, they get chilled, and will never re- 
turn. I have seen many such eases. 

But perhaps some one is ready to ask, How do you 
know bees are thus found in hollow trees? it would 
be difficult to climb up and look in. To this I 
would say, I have examined several that were cut 
and lowered down by ropes and taken to the apiary, 
and kept there for years aud finally dissected, and 
the bees transferred to a hive, I have seen a great 
many bee trees dissected after felling them with the 
axe. I have also examined quite a number of gums 
or hives made by sawing off a section of a hollow 
gum tree when filled with bees and combs, the 
diameter of which was quite small in proportion to 
the length, thereby following nature as closely a^ 
I have made these observations at all sea- 

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aona of tlie yesir, and have found the t'ncts as stated. 
Heiico, I conclude that the fact of bees eeleetingand 
occupying such cavities, ia strong evidence that they 
are better suited to their natural habits and better 
adapted to the wants peculiar to a cold climate. In 
short, in this condition and shape they are nearer a 
state of nature than any other. 


I have found in managing bees, as in most other 
things, the closer v/e adhere to the known rules and 
laws of nature the better success will attend our ef- 
forts; hence, I have striven to keep this in view in 
practice as well as theory. 

Taking it for granted that beea themselves under- 
stand best the shape of the cavity adapted to winter 
in, ill a cold climate, and in pursuance of which they 
make such selections aa have been described, it 
should admonish us to construct all hives intended 
for wintering in the open air, of an oblong shape, 
giving the bees a good depth of comb, to enable 
them to pas8 safely through the extreme and often 
long continued inclement weather, without danger 
of starving amidst plenty. Having a good depth of 
comb also very much facilitates breeding in the early 
spring, as the animal heat is better economized than 
in any other shape. Broad, flat hives are very ob- 
jectionable, both for wintering bees in and for rearing 
brood, as the bees frequently consume all the honey 
immediately above them during a cold spell, and 
perish, being unable to reach any other part of the 

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hive. There are but two points gained in the broad 
flat liives, that I ever could discover: the firatj is a 
greater surface to put honey boxes in to obtain the 
surplus honey ; tlie second, they are not bo apt to be 
blown over by high winds. 

To the fii-st of these I wjauld say, bees will store 
just as much honey in a hive thirteen inches aq^uaro 
as they will in a hive twice that size. This can easily 
be tested. To the second point I reply, that all those 
who merit success in bee-keeping will so protect their 
bees as to suffer no inconvenience from using oblong 
hives. But the advantages derived from such hives 
in wintering bees in the open air, exceeds tenfold 
their disadvantages. 

Broad flat hives are perhaps better adapted to win- 
tering bees in, when kept in warm, dark rooms ; and 
they are more convenient for stonng away on shelves, 
"When thus kept during winter, the shape of the hive 
is of less importance, ao far as wintering is concerned. 


I can say but little about this mode of wintering 
bees. That they can be thus kept through the winter 
does not admit of a doubt, and that they are thus 
kept by some apiarians, is equally true ; but that it 
is the best pian for the nmjority of bee-keepers to 
adopt, permit me at present to doubt. 

To winter them auecessfully in a room, requires a 
degree of care and watchfulness that but few are 
willing to give them, in order to keep all right during 
the sudden changes of weather to which our climate 

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is subject. There are but few bee-keepers who have 
suitable rooms in which to winter their bees; and 
where but few are kept, it is more difficult to pre- 
serve them in this manner than if there is a sufficient 
quantity to keep the room warm. It ia just as natu- 
ral for beea to want their liberty, and fly out on warm 
days, as it is for sparks to fly upward ; hence, I con- 
clude that to confine them is contrary to their nature, 
and consequently injurious to their future health and 

I have thus wintered bees, and on setting them out 
in spring fOund their condition similar to those we 
shipped to California, on opening them out after 



This, after all, is the great point at issue. Many 
persons would become bee-keepers, if they knew it 
would be very profitable. 

It is difficult to estimate correctly what profit may 
he derived from average stocks of bees per annum. 
The usual price per hive here, is about nine or ten 
dollars, in good hives. The average product from 
each good stock per year, if managed in the manner 
I have suggested in this treatise, in swarms and 
honey, should be about equal to the first cost of the 
stocks. From this should be deducted the price of 

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For Hives, individual, township, county or State 
Eights, for Harbison's Improved Movable Comb 
Bee Hive, apply to Johs S. Harbison, Sacramento 
City, California, for all territory on the Pacific coast. 

In the State of Iowa, to J. H. Dickey, Bellevue, 
Jackson county, Iowa. 

In the States of Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky, 
to A. F, Moon, Paw-Paw, Van Buren county, 
Michigan . 

In New Jersey or adjoining territory, to Gboroe 
HBNftY, Hammonton, Atlantic connty, K. J. 

In Ashtabula county, Ohio, to 0. B. Sparry, Ash- 
tabula, Ohio. 

In Butler county, Pa. to A. B. Tinker, Butler, Pa. 

In Mercer, Lawrence, Beaver, Allegheny, "Wash- 
ington, "Westmoreland, and the four townships in 
the south-west corner of Butler connty. Pa. and 
Columbiana and Jefferson counties in Ohio, and the 
Pan-handle of Virginia, to A. Stewart & Co. New 
Brighton, Beaver county. Pa. 

For all other territory, apply to "W. 0. Harbison, 
Chenango, Lawrence county, Pa. or to A. Stewart, 
Fallston, Beaver county. Pa. 

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